Church to open Women and Children Shelter in Orange
By Dawn Burleigh
Jaqueline James with her husband Pastor Kenneth James are in the process of opening a Family and Educational Center in Orange which will include a Women and Children’s Shelter.
Anchor Family and Youth Center is located at 1301 West Park in Orange and recently, the couple was able to acquire more space to include a shelter for women and their children who need a safe environmental space to encourage peace.
While the program is young, it has already shown positive results.
A young man from Mississippi found himself in Orange, homeless and sleeping in his car. One day his car was stolen, turning a bad situation worse.
“We were handing out sandwiches when we met Michael,” Jaqueline said. “He had a run of bad luck. Not all homeless are on drugs, some just fall on hard times. Michael had four months of hard luck. Now he has a job, and a home.”
When COVID-19 Crisis began, people came to the church looking for food.
“It was a few people at first,” Jaqueline said. “Then it grew to 140 people a day. The need is there.”
Jaqueline added Michael’s story proves people need help and encouragement.
“Here we can train them from the streets to be sustainable to work in the community,” Jaqueline said. “And bring money back to the community.”
The church is also connected with several stores in the area to assist in helping find employment.
“They can start at the church cleaning and making sandwiches,” Jaqueline said.
In Michael’s situation, he said he just needed the opportunity to feel productive.
Anchor Family and Youth Center will include an educational center for children, Women and Children’s Shelter, Spiritual Counseling, Social and Life skills Training, Outreach Ministry, Crisis Hotline and a thrift store.
The biggest aspect of the ministry is the creation of the Women and Children’s Shelter.
“It will house 25-30 where the children can feel safe and the women can be nourished,” Jaqueline said. “My husband and I have raised over 150 children through the foster care system. The women in the area need help. We need the community in prayer with us.”
The center will keep each woman’s name confidential for their safety as well as have a 24 hour security team on hand to provide a safe structural environment for the women.
“We are working with officials and law enforcement as well,” Jaqueline said.
She added that she believes the city can grow and be revitalized.
“God moved us here,” she said. “We are really excited about this.”
The church also has mentoring programs for young men and women.
“We want them to rise to the top and stay here,” Jaqueline said. “We also teach them about the city. So many do not know the historic value or how to love where you are. We want them to become passionate about Orange, so they want to come back. I am raising seven children in this city. I want kids to love where they live.”
Currently, the biggest obstacles the church is facing in getting the shelter to the next stage so it is closer to opening is assistance with a kitchen and kitchen equipment as well as a shower.
For those interested in making a donation or wanting to volunteer, call 409-553-3339 or 409-499-5495.