This is the final article in a three-part series that shines a spotlight on the plight of homeless children and families, and the resources available to support them.
Imagine, if you can, going to sleep without a bed or comfortable place to lie down. Unfortunately, Jacquanda, a mom who lives with her three little girls, knows what it’s like through personal experience. In fact, Jacquanda and her children lived in a house without any furniture or other basic necessities. To make matters worse, the structure was infested with rodents. The sad truth is that although she works part-time, Jacquanda could not afford to purchase very much for the housing unit where she recently relocated.
Thanks to HOPE For All, a nonprofit organization that serves Anne Arundel County and parts of Baltimore City, Jacquanda now has new beds, a sofa, comforters, blankets, sheets, pillows, and pillow cases. The girls have new clothes, shoes, undergarments, and toys. For their new comfy sleeping arrangements, they even received new pajamas.
“We are truly grateful that God works through so many people in our area to allow us to serve families like Jacquanda’s,” said Hope For All’s Communications Director Robin Smith. “This family is typical of many whom we serve.”
Established in 2004 by Leo and Diane Zerhusen, HOPE For All’s mission “is to provide basic necessities such as furniture, housewares, clothing, and personal items, to families and individuals without sufficient economic resources”.
“We seek to bolster the dignity of disadvantaged families, without discrimination, by providing for their basic human needs,” said Smith. “Great efforts are taken to promote responsibility, not dependency.”
For many years, the Zerhusens participated in church and community volunteer opportunities. However, it was during a trip to the Appalachia region when they discovered families in the area needed clothes. Today, the Zerhusens still serve those communities as well as the communities in Maryland.
“Our supporters are making a monumental difference in the everyday lives of our clients, offering them the necessities that most of us take for granted,” said Smith. “With children accounting for more than half of HOPE For All’s efforts, we are driven to provide some sense of a normal home environment for those who struggle to make ends meet in our area.”
HOPE For All is committed to accomplishing its mission by engaging compassionate volunteers of all ages and occupations, in meaningful and productive service. The organization serves families who have been referred to them by community partners. In addition, HOPE For All offers several programs geared toward supporting children and families. For example, the Turning Houses into Homes program offers support to families transiting from homelessness to affordable housing.
“If we don’t have the necessary items in our inventory, we buy them,” said Smith. “In addition, all beds provided through our A Bed to Call My Own initiative are newly purchased.”
Smith added that HOPE For All serves hundreds of families, veterans, elderly, and individuals each year who need community support during crucial times in their lives. “Over half of our recipients are children. By turning their house into a home, we help empower adults to move toward self-sufficiency.”
Moreover, for families like Jacquanda and her children, HOPE For All offers “hope” for the future.
For more information about HOPE For All programs and ways that you can help, please visit: www.hopeforall.us.