House of Hope celebrates 25 years
The House of Hope of the Pee Dee celebrated its 25th anniversary during its annual House of Hope Concert Benefit on March 23 in the fellowship hall at First Presbyterian Church. Board chairman Amber Turner welcomed approximately 300 guests to the evening of reflection and celebration for this Christian ministry to homeless individuals. “As I look out across the crowd I see a patchwork of people who have dedicated some part of their lives to this ministry for the past 25 years,” she said. “And I believe that even prior to the HOH’s establishment, that God laid the groundwork for this ministry, to carry out His plan in the Florence community to meet the needs of the homeless. I am so grateful for the HOH’s blessed past.”
Benjamin and Heidi Birdsong entertained in song and music. Justin and Jodi Lantrip, a couple who found hope and housing assistance through the ministry, shared their story of victory over drug addiction and redemption through Jesus. Mariel and Tripp McAlister of ICE Recycling were introduced. Mrs. McAlister, human services director, talked about the company’s positive experiences from employing residents of the House of Hope men’s facility. She encouraged other businesses to do the same. The board of directors honored board member Brenda Harrison with a Light of Hope Award in appreciation of her work with the ministry over the last 25 years.
The House of Hope of the Pee Dee is a non-profit Christian-based ministry that provides food, shelter, clothing and other services to homeless men, women and their children. The ministry operates a facility for women and their children at 2000 W. Darlington Street, a shelter for men in Elim, and the Mission Mart at 931 S. Irby Street which is a resale shop that helps support the ministry. According to executive director Bryan Braddock, the ministry is not here for the short term, it is here for the long-haul. “We want to see our residents walk out as an active church member, with a job, and with their own permanent address,” he said. Mrs. Turner noted that there are fundamental differences in this ministry. “Chiefly: we believe that the only true life changes are those that carry a guaranteed eternal impact. These of which are founded on the life-saving power of Jesus Christ. It is not always a popular belief to proclaim, and I admire that the House of Hope remains dedicated to this principle.” She asked those in attendance to “join in celebrating 25 years as a ministry and praising God in advance for His abundant blessings to come.”