I had an insightful conversation last week with someone new to Mamma’s Hands. They were feeling disheartened about the homelessness issue in our community, and wondered if their support really mattered. They said, “I’m just one person. Can I really make a difference? Tell me what is so special about the House of Hope?”. As I pondered their important question I had a million thoughts race through my mind. I wanted to talk of the dire need-how House of Hope is the only year-round family shelter in the Snoqualmie Valley; our services extended to struggling families throughout the Seattle area. I wanted to speak on the desperation-of the mothers with small children we hear from that are sleeping in their cars, on Sound transit, and at bus stops at night with nowhere to go. To share exciting statistics-90% of House of Hope families move into long-term housing! About our continued circle of support to families that extends far past the walls of the shelter. To let them know that our program works and that lives are changing daily for the better. Most of all I wanted to let them know their support was not in vain. That their contribution meant something. That their gift combined with the generosity of so many others are the stepping stones to a brand new life for these precious children.
I have been privileged to manage several different emergency shelter and transitional housing organizations during my career. But I have never seen a place like the House of Hope. We are not a shelter; we are a home. A beautiful, safe and loving home where families connect, lives are healed, and children thrive. I have seen mothers come out of the depths of despair because, for the first time ever, they are not alone. I have seen those struggling with addiction realize their worth and start anew. I have seen babies born, children graduate, and have been welcomed into new homes while moms beam with pride at all they have accomplished. I have seen young adults who lived at the House of Hope as children come back years later to volunteer and give back. I have witnessed miracles.
While the homes and the support offered by Mamma’s Hands are an important part of the journey for families, they are not the most important factor. The single most crucial thing we offer to homeless families is hope. The hope of safety for their children, the hope of doing things differently, and the hope for a better future. A graduate of the House of Hope told me recently, “I have never met people who stayed so steady. Whose faith in me never wavered. Most shelters, even family say they will help you. But after a month or so they want you out. You stayed strong. When I came here hopeless you showed me hope. And when I couldn’t see the light, you let me lean on yours until I developed hope for myself. I will never forget you.”
As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary serving families at our Virtual Auction tomorrow night, I ask that you please give generously. I ask you to support the families at the House of Hope, and to bring hope to the many more who are desperate to have a safe place to call home. I want you to know that you make a difference. Your support matters. And you have the power to change the course of history for homeless children and their families for generations to come. Thank you for your support of Mamma’s Hands. Let us all keep the light of hope that shines within us.
Kimberly Jackson, Executive Director