The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

September 12, 2013

New Hope Community helps those who 'fall through the cracks'

OSKALOOSA — New Hope Community Inc. is there to help needy people who fall through the cracks of government assistance programs. New Hope Community Inc. opened its doors on Sept. 25, 2006, at 308 Fifth Ave. W.

“We incorporated in 2004 and opened our doors to programing in 2006,” New Hope Community Inc. Leslie Rice said. “We are a 501(c)3. We are governed by a board.”

The New Hope Community’s mission statement is to “strengthen families through education, development opportunities and supports within the transforming circle of Christian care.”

Rice said she the need for forming New Hope Community while working as a social worker. Rice saw that many people fell through the cracks of government programs.

“My goal is to catch those who fall between the cracks,” she said.

Rice said that according to the 2000 census, about 20 percent of Oskaloosa’s population is in poverty. So, there is a need in the community for a helping hand.

When New Hope Community opened its doors, it provided before- and after-school programs.

“Now, we just do after-school programs,” Rice said. “Everything we do here is free.”

Rice said New Hope Community staff wants to help needy children.

“We have free tutoring every night,” she said.

Besides academic help, New Hope Community staff want to help needy children keep physically fit. They currently offer kickball, football and archery. The sports change with the seasons, she added. The staff also offers cooking as well as arts and crafts classes, Rice said.

“These are development opportunities,” she added.

For children’s spiritual needs, the staff offers Bible and prayer groups, Rice said. This past year, New Hope Community had about 45 children in the before-school program and about 25 students in the after-school program, Rice said. The New Hope Community has a staff of eight part-time employees, which include two high school students.

“It gives them work experience and job skills and a resume,” Rice said.

The Klothes Kloset is a clothing store that has items for sale to everyone.

The Klothes Kloset takes referrals from social work agencies and churches. If they cannot afford the prices of the items at the Klothes Kloset, people can work for an hour and receive four items. Also, anyone can walk in and purchase an item.

“The public can walk in anytime,” she said.

New Hope Community also hosts NEST classes for expectant parents or those parents who have a child up to 3 years old. NEST is funded by the Salvation Army. Parents can earn points for doing healthy activities for use at the NEST Store to pick up baby supplies for free, Rice said.

New Hope Community also provides space for some local churches.

The Omega Church meets at New Hope Community. The Fellowship Bible Church AWANAS meets at New Hope Community on Wednesday nights. Also, the Lifehouse Community Church youth group meets there on Sundays, Rice said.

Outside the New Hope Community building, six to eight families maintain their own Community Graden plots. The gardens were started with United Way funds, Rice said.

New Hope Community will hold a special family event — New Hope Depot — on Saturday, Sept. 21, and it will be sponsored by four local churches.

People can come in and register, then a host will take them around for a variety of things such as free food, a free meal, clothing, household items, haircuts, family pictures, and dental and medical exams. People can get the oil changed in their vehicle too. The hosts also will talk to people about spiritual things, Rice said.

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