Bethesda News

Warm this Winter

Winter poses a serious threat to those living on the streets. Even on comfortable days, nighttime temperatures often dip to around or below freezing. On the worst nights, those exposed to the elements struggle to survive outside of a shelter.

Harrisburg’s recent winters have been slightly warmer than the past average of 33.3°F, but that does not make them any more forgiving to those who are sleeping in the cold.

Out in the Cold

Kathy, one of our guests at the Women’s Mission, spent almost a year without a permanent shelter.

Both Kathy and her husband struggled with addiction, and he worked under the table to provide for them. After being unable to keep up with rent, they began living in their truck. They would bathe in the river to stay clean.

“[At night], we covered ourselves in blankets and coats and tried to stay warm. We had a bucket in the back for the bathroom.”

Kathy also had her wallet stolen. “[When you’re on the street], so many people are out to get you. I lost my ID, everything.” During this time, they would often eat food from a donation box outside of a church.

After Kathy’s husband was arrested and taken to jail, she returned to her mother’s house for help. She asked for some coffee but was turned away.

Kathy spent the next week living in the woods near her mother’s house. Eventually, she couldn’t take it anymore, and she hid inside her mother’s laundry room. She was found and taken away by the police.

Along with her addiction, Kathy struggled with major depression and anxiety. She went to the hospital a few times as well as a rehab. When she got out, she was turned away by two other shelters before coming to Bethesda Mission.

Intake was expected to take two weeks, but, by God’s grace, we were able to get her in the next day.

A Shelter of Hope

Since Kathy has been at Bethesda Mission, her life has been dramatically impacted for the better.

“It’s warm. I have a roof over my head. I’m receiving medication that has helped my mental health. I even had my teeth taken care of. I just ignored [them] before.”

Kathy’s counselor, Joy Kennedy, has been working alongside her to foster growth.

“Kathy’s easy to get along with; she likes to help out,” Joy stated. “She’s creative. She’s very thankful and appreciative of what she has and what she’s getting.

“I did my life story with [Joy].” Kathy recalled. “She helped me get my paperwork together—my birth certificate, my marriage license. She’s there if I need to talk.”

Kathy has become invested in her own spiritual walk as well. She is praying every night and following a Bible study.

Joy reflected, “Since I have known Kathy, she has been eager to learn the Bible. She’s growing spiritually.”

Kathy has nothing but good things to say about the staff and shelter: “They’ll help you with everything imaginable—go to any length. It’s a very happy place.”

Kathy has also reconnected with her kids. Her son passed away, but her other children are supporting her. Kathy’s husband is getting out of prison soon, and she is looking forward to being reunited with him.

Thank You

We can only provide warmth and hope for homeless and hurting women because of your support. Kathy has been changed for the better by her stay at the Women’s Mission, and there are many women who need to get out of the cold.

Your donations and time make it possible to serve Kathy and others like her. Thank you for your continued desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

From all of us at Bethesda Mission, we hope you have a blessed New Year!

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