Residents, community leaders and elected officials all gathered in the lot behind Hope Rescue Mission Tuesday morning to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new LightHouse Women and Children’s Center, a residential center for women and children on their 5 acre campus.
The massive development project to transform a 25,000-square-foot thrift store into the LightHouse Women and Children’s Center began in January 2020 when they kicked off their capital campaign that was then halted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Campaign efforts were reignited at the May 1, 2022 Hope Gala and will continue as construction costs have increased by $2M since the project began.
The unique aspect of this project is that the shelter will be open to any woman who needs a safe place to stay. This includes women who have children, single women and unaccompanied youth.
The project includes the creation of 43 residential rooms, each with private restroom facilities. It will accommodate a total of 125 women and children. This design was intentional to offer every woman privacy and dignity, while also reducing public health issues common in dormitory-style settings.
“It is our goal to create an environment of safety, dignity and compassion,” said Kate Alley, Executive Director of the LightHouse Women & Children’s Center, which is part of Hope Rescue Mission. “We will assist these women with getting back on their feet while also creating a residential center that doesn’t look or feel like a typical shelter.”
The initiative has included a partnership with locally based furniture store, Ethosource who is sharing their expertise by contributing to the space planning and furniture design, consultation for interior finishes, such as flooring and color selection, as well as an in-kind donation that will cover a portion of the furniture costs.
“As a company, we strive to support the communities in which we live and work with our expertise and furnishings to enable positive developments among our neighbors,” said President and Owner of Ethosource John Gallen.
“We are proud to be part of such an important project within our community and look forward to creating an aesthetically beautiful place that women and children in need can turn to.”
Speaking about the event, CEO Robert Turchi commented, “For 128 years Hope Rescue Mission has been serving homeless men with care and dedication and we are excited to meet the urgent need in Berks County to assist women and children now, too.”
Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included Senator Judy Schwank, Commissioner Christian Leinbach, Mayor Eddie Moran, Jim Smith, Esq., Vice President, Hope Rescue Mission Board of Directors, and Dr. Chris DiVietro, Sr. Pastor, Park Road Presbyterian church.