Our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Don E. Johnson, describes the Freewill Shelter:
"The Freewill Shelter began as a dream of one person who saw the plight of first time offenders returning to a community in which they had neither the skills nor the entrée to opportunity to start their lives over again. Men and women began to come to work at a local restaurant and learn work and life skills needed to build a resume and build self confidence that there was hope on the other side of their incarceration. Over time the Shelter (think verb more than building) began to expand its housing, training, placement and rehabilitation skills. They became a true half-way house on the road to better living for those who committed to their discipline, training and care. It is a lived example of 'loving service.'
"The transforming of unjust structures of society in our diocese is seen more in its providing opportunities not usually afforded this underserved population than in marching and lobbying on the doors of … politicians. This is a ministry of hope given to those willing to do the hard work of starting over. Often on their own or with their children in tow, the participants in the Shelter movement in Humboldt, Tennessee are changing lives, expectations and hopes.
"The Freewill Shelter is supported by contributions from a number of parishes in the Diocese. The shelter itself is a separate 501c3 organization and the diocesan support is through these combined gifts of parishes, through small contributions from my discretionary fund, and to a large extent by in-kind gifts of time, supplies and management skills by members of St. Thomas' Episcopal church in Humboldt. In particular, Mrs. Dorothy Farner spearheads the organizing, implementing and cheerleading that is so necessary for such an effort of loving care. As an ecumenical ministry in its community, it has also received funding from other churches. Most of the hands-on work is through the efforts of members of St. Thomas Church."
Do you shop at Kroger? You can help the Freewill Shelter by registering your Kroger Plus card in the Community Rewards program. Go to www.kroger.comand click on Community to sign up. The Shelter's organization number is 81589. Thank you.