by Dennis Dalman
Place of Hope Ministries, based in St. Cloud, is planning a wide range of holiday activities for people who are less fortunate financially or who are currently homeless.
However, public help is being requested from all who live in the greater St. Cloud/Central Minnesota area.
The first of the events/activities is an open house from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. The address of Place of Hope is 511 Ninth Ave. N. in St. Cloud. During the open house, the public will have a chance to find out more about the many services Place of Hope offers, its daily meal program and its residency options. Visitors will be able to take tours of the housing wings, including a new one for single women, one for single men and another for women with small children. There is also a wing for homeless veterans and, now underway, a fourth-floor wing for an additional 14 bedrooms. Visitors will hear testimonials from people who have been helped, whose lives have been turned around because of Place of Hope.
The other events and requests for donations, volunteers and other help include the following:
Kids’ Hope Shop
This event, featuring an interactive walk through called “Journey to Bethlehem,” is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20.
A free meal will be provided for more than 400 children during the event. Children of all ages will receive Christmas gifts. What’s needed are unwrapped gift donations, wrapping paper and food. Donations can be dropped off at any Bremer Bank in the area. Call Linda Guggenberger at 320-251-3300 for drop-off information or directions. In addition, donations of any kind can be brought in person to Door 4 at Place of Hope’s St. Cloud building, 511 Ninth Ave. N.
Place of Hope, with help from generous donors, sponsors a Christmas adopt-a-family program. About 50 local families are up for adoption, which means each family member will receive Christmas gifts and gift cards to grocery stores so they can purchase food for a Christmas dinner. Gift items and grocery store gift cards are welcome. Again, they can be brought to any Bremer Bank or monetary contributions and gift cards can be sent to Place of Hope Ministries, 511 Ninth Ave. N., St. Cloud, Minn. 56303.
Christmas Eve activities for homeless people and Place of Hope residents will take place starting with a noon meal Monday, Dec. 24, at Place of Hope and a special Christmas dinner at 5 p.m.
In addition, there will be an ecumenical worship service at 3 p.m. in east St. Cloud at 413 Franklin Ave. NE. and a 4:30 p.m. worship service at Place of Hope, 511 Ninth Ave. N. in St. Cloud.
At 6 p.m. there will be the singing of Christmas songs and gift-giving.
What’s needed are backpacks to hold personal-care items that will be given to people experiencing homelessness.
Meals served at noon and at 5 p.m. on Christmas Day, Tuesday, Dec. 25 at Place of Hope.
For more information about how to donate and/or volunteer opportunities, visit www.placeofhopeministries.org.
Place of Hope Ministries’ motto is Rebuilding, Repairing, Restoring Lives. Every day of the year, meals are served to the less-fortunate and homeless people, including many children. More than 7,000 meals are served every month.
There is also a temporary residency program during which clients can have a roof over their heads as they work in a support network to find jobs and to learn to become self sufficient.
There are also church services at the east-side and west-side locations – a Sunday service at 9:30 a.m. and a Wednesday family night with a meal at 5:30 p.m. followed by Bible study at 6:30 p.m.
Place of Hope also operates other programs, such as Hope Outreach for young children and teens, and a prison outreach effort for people in the jails of Benton and Stearns counties. Outreach programs for the poor even reach as far as Africa and Asia.