Hope House spreads holiday cheer

By John Rech news@theeveningtimes.com

It’s a season of loving neighbors and giving. That makes December an extra busy month at House Ministries in West Memphis. The group blessed 559 households with two weeks worth of groceries on December 11. Cars encircled Marion First Baptist for the every other month food give away. “Some of our senior citizens were lined up at 5:30 a.m.,” said Hope House Director and founder Mary Gibbs.” I really enjoyed a few hours of fellowship with them. I got a lot of love, probable over 300 hugs on Friday.” After the food give away, the all volunteer ministry quickly turned their attention to Christmas giving. Hope House is a multifaceted ministry. They distribute food to those with qualified needs. The group gets donations from Walmart, and Kroger on a regular basis to pass along. The USDA is a sometimes source for meat. And the group was the Memphis Mid-South Food bank agency of the year in 2014. Hope House helps women re-establish themselves in life. Some formerly incarcerated, homeless, or abandoned, find refuge at their supervised houses in the county. Training, Bible study, a school and work regimen mark the routine for women hoping to re-launch their lives and reduce recidivism. Ministering to the women in the Crittenden County Detention Center on Sunday afternoons is where it all started. After more than a decade the ministry is still there today and focused on helping those mothers love on their children at Christmas. Hope House distributes Christmas gifts to the children of moms in the county jail. A toy drive is on to fill the list for the 53 women who signed up their families. Backpacks stuffed with Bibles, a small toy, mittens and toboggan or underwear and socks, and a snack are ready for the special deliveries. Those packages came through the Mississippi River Missions Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, which serves counties touching the river from the Ohio River to the Gulf. But a toy drive is on to give each registered child a big new gift this Christmas. Gibbs said a challenge exists to serve the truly needy in the community beyond the jail house and asked for donations. “There are people calling daily and asking for help for Christmas,” said Gibbs. “Donations of food and toys has not been what it was in recent years. All I can say to people at this point is wait and see.” Donations of non-perishable food items, toys or checks designated for the Christmas drive may be dropped off during Business hours at 614 Hwy. 77, during business hours.

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