The Refuge of Hope Disciple Center
A little over a decade ago, Doctors Charles and Judy Farmer, two pastors dedicated to alleviating the plight of the disadvantaged, founded the Refuge of Hope Disciple Center. As native Washingtonians, their vision was to positively impact the lives of people in the District of Columbia. Refuge of Hope distributes emergency food, clothing, and educational supplies to those in need. It also operates a community outreach center that provides career education and training, crisis intervention counseling, community field trips, drug prevention programs, and several summer youth camps.
The Behrend Builders: Tikkun Olam
According to the Behrend Builders, an essential part of rebuilding the District is facilitating the spiritual bond that occurs among the approximately 5,000 people who volunteer for the program each year.
After gaining ownership of the buildings, Refuge of Hope approached Richard Feldman, the Project Director of the Behrend Builders, hoping to enlist the program's help in renovating the buildings into a community outreach center. In the summer of 1999, Refuge of Hope and the Behrend Builders began their partnership. Today, over 2,000 volunteers and $55,000 in donations later, most of the work is done. Says Feldman, "One building is complete, and two are almost complete. All we need now is assistance in heating and air conditioning, and donations for the windows and doors, for three buildings to be done."
Unfortunately, the Behrend Builders program will have to cease its work on the properties after completing the first three buildings. The remaining two buildings were so ravaged by the drug trade that they are unsafe for lay volunteer construction. It will take the help of local builders to complete the project. Once the three-building shelter is operable, the Refuge of Hope will start looking for materials and labor to reconstruct the remaining two buildings.
Upon completion, this joint venture will create an outreach center that will include:
With compassion, hard work, and interfaith cooperation and understanding, what was once a haven for violence and dissolution in a community will be transformed into a symbol of hope and safety.
For more information, contact: Richard Feldman, Project Director, Behrend Builders, (202) 777-3245, firstname.lastname@example.org