Helping those in need: Open house offers insight into extensive services

This article is courtesy of Reporter-Times

MARTINSVILLE

Homelessness can happen for a variety of reasons and it’s something that can be difficult to recover from without adequate support. That’s where organizations like the WellSpring Center step in and help.

The WellSpring Center hosted its annual open house on Sunday, an event that gives members of the community a chance to get an inside look at the only shelter in Morgan County that doesn’t split up families. Other shelters have males stay in one part of the facility while females stay in another part.

 

“I think it’s important because a family can work together as a unit to stay together,” said Shelly Houseworth, director of House for the WellSpring Center. “If they’re together, they can come up with a plan rather than separating.”

Housewoth said it’s a way for familial bonds to remain strong, even during a stressful and difficult period.

“That’s so important to be able to have a meal together and be able to spend the time together and watch a movie together. That just builds the family and makes it stronger rather than keeping them separated,” she said.

Families can stay up to 24 months in the center’s transitional housing, which Houseworth said is roughly the time period needed for a family to become financially stable and ready to live on their own again, though every family is different in how much time they need.

WellSpring Executive Director Bob Goodrum said the open house was a good chance to introduce the center to members of the community who were unfamiliar with it or had never visited.

“It’s just an opportunity for us to open our doors to the community,” Goodrum said. “We’ve had people who’ve lived here (in Martinsville) their whole lives … and had no idea what we did.”

Some amenities for WellSpring residents include a computer lab and a craft room. The computer lab is used by residents to do job searches, educational programs for adults and for children to work on homework. Currently, the center has need for more homework tutors.

The craft room is stocked with books and drawers full of art and craft supplies and it’s a popular spot for residents like Austin DeMeritt, a fourth-grader at South Elementary School.

“This is also a place where at the end of school, adults all get together and help the kids with their homework,” Austin said. “They also do flash cards, play with toys and just have fun when there’s nothing to do at WellSprings.”

WellSpring has a food pantry that’s used to supplement basic needs of residents — cans of vegetables, pastas and prepackaged dinners are nestled on shelves. There are also toiletry items and other essentials that residents might not have on hand when they arrive at the center.

Volunteers from Eastview Christian Church have served as tour guides for visitors to WellSpring the past three years.

“It’s just something I like to do,” said youth group member Josiah Elliott. “I like to be helpful in general, it’s just my personality.”

Vance Miner, one of the leaders of the Eastview Youth Group, said the group got involved at the request of a WellSpring volunteer.

“(Terrie Haniford) helps here, and she asked my wife and I if we could find some youth to help lead people through as they come in through here and just be friendly and nice to them and show them through that,” Miner said.

Currently, the center is need of volunteers, beyond just homework tutors.

“We’re looking for folks from 4:15 to about 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the school year, but we’re also looking for folks that will come in and help us unload the van on Midwest (Food Bank) day or the Gleaners (Food Bank) day and to distribute food out of our food pantry one day,” Goodrum said.

Goodrum said that they were looking for people who just wanted to give back to those in need.

For more information about the WellSpring Center, visit wellspringcenter.org or call 765-342-6661. The WellSpring Center is located at 301 W. Harrison St., Martinsville.

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