Bethesda News

Bethesda Mission to tear down, rebuild women’s shelter


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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The two buildings making up the Bethesda Mission Women’s Shelter are more than 100 years old and will soon get a major facelift.

“When I was 13, me and my best friend found her mom dead, so it was kind of traumatizing, and after that, I started smoking cigarettes and drinking,” said Amanda Briner, who’s staying at the shelter.

Briner’s addiction to drugs got worse by the time she was 17.

“I was using pills and then I moved up to heroin,” she said.

She turned her life around after being homeless, getting clean in rehab, and eventually ending up at the shelter with her 5-year-old son.

“I want to help other addicts get their lives together, so I want to have a degree and be able to provide for me and my son,” Briner said.

The Bethesda Mission received a gift from a donor and is fundraising to tear down and rebuild the main building annex. They’ll do the buildings one at a time so the women and children still have a place to call home.

It’s projected to cost almost $3 million and will add about an additional 7,000 square feet to help women like Briner. The shelter houses 25 women now, including some with children. They will be able to accommodate 50 when the renovations are complete.

“It’s going to help to open up what our vision is and what our dreams are in terms of helping and serving our community,” said Shelley Baker Brooks, director of Bethesda Mission Women and Children’s Ministries.

“When I finish my GED, I’m trying to go to college, take classes, and they’re actually helping me do all that,” Briner said.

The Bethesda Mission needs donations and eventually volunteers for the project. For more information, call the Bethesda Mission at (717) 257-4442 and ask for the development director or volunteer coordinator.

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