Although Franklin County has a host of resources for women and children trying to escape abuse, it doesn’t have one key component of a successful breakaway — a safe, long-term place for women and their children to call home.
One local group, Hannah’s Refuge, has set out with a goal to help solve that problem.
Originally started in 2007 and established with the government in 2011, members of the 501(c)(3) are now working toward fund-raising to make their dream a reality.
Amie Adrian, founder and president of Hannah’s Refuge, said it was her own experiences growing up that made her want to start a group home for women and their children experiencing any kind of abuse.
“Throughout my childhood and teenage years, my mother was married several times and none of them were nice men,” she said, noting that her mom’s husband now is an excellent person. “I experienced all forms of abuse. I wanted to do something about it, but I didn’t know what to do.”
Years later, Adrian, who lives in Union, was talking with her husband, fantasizing about what she would do if she won the lottery. Opening a shelter topped the list.
With some loving nudging from her husband, Adrian said he gave her the confidence that she could help form an organization to help women like her mother.
“I think several times my mom would have left if there was a place without a very strict time limit of one week or one month to stay,” she said.
With that, Hannah’s Refuge was born.
The organization’s mission statement is “Hannah’s Refuge exists to provide a home-like haven for abused women and their children; to share the love of Jesus Christ; and to provide an opportunity for healing through demonstration of biblical principles and excellence in care.”
Hannah’s Refuge currently does not have a facility. The goal is to raise $550,000 before even attempting to buy or build a facility.
Because Adrian wants the shelter to be a long-term facility, she wants to be sure there are enough funds to keep a shelter running.
To Adrian, failure is not an option. She has established a seven-member board which meets regularly.
Other board members include Beth Irwin, vice president; Teri Kluesner, secretary; Russell Irwin, Melissa Cline and Amber Strickland, all of Washington; and Andy Adrian, treasurer, Union.
The board agreed that Hannah’s Refuge would provide up to three years of shelter to help get women back on their feet.
During a family’s stay, the mother would be required to attend two life skills classes on topics such as how to keep a checkbook, how to write a resume, cooking, cleaning, childcare and other topics.
Counseling and tutoring also would be available for children and adults.
During their stay, women would be able to get a job, if they don’t already have one, and set aside money for a home or rent once they leave.
Hannah’s Refuge would not provide service for those with substance abuse or addiction.
Long-term, Adrian said the goal would be to have a shelter in all of the school districts in Franklin County, though she’s keeping in mind that she has no control on timing.
She also would like to have a satellite office where people could get counseling if they do not need a place to live.
“We want to have the chain of violence broken,” she said. Often, the chain is passed down through generations, she said.
The group would like the first shelter to be in Union. Ideally, the shelter would be a building that the community no longer used, but Adrian said the organization would be a good steward of the money and would make the most financially responsible decision.
Adrian said it’s important that people can, if they want, cultivate a relationship with Jesus during their time at the shelter.
In fact, there is a biblical reference in the organization’s name.
Hannah’s story, in the Old Testament, is that she was abused by her husband’s other wives because she was the youngest and newest wife and because she had a hard time conceiving.
Through prayer, she eventually conceived a son, who she dedicated back to God. The son became a priest.
“That sums up what we hope to happen,” Adrian said. “Our overall goal is not to cram religion down people’s throats, but to exhibit the love of Jesus Christ and provide a safe place where women have the opportunity and time to heal from their abuse.”
It is up to each individual if they choose to heal with or without Jesus, she said, but a nondenominational Christian atmosphere will be provided.
“We firmly believe that, though you can heal without Jesus Christ, it’s a more complete healing if you do it with him,” she said.
How to Help
Adrian said that while board members contribute what they can, “none of us are wealthy, so none of us could do it on our own.”
The group held a 5K run last October and hopes to have another one this year.
Ninety percent of all donations go straight to Hannah’s Refuge. No one is getting paid for their work with the organization.
Because the organization is Christian-based, it gives 10 percent of its donations to other organizations. Each quarter, 10 percent is split up between Loving Hearts, Mercy Ministries and Heartland Farms.
Hannah’s Refuge is on Facebook, but does not have a webpage due to the cost to maintain it.
People can mail tax-deductible donations to Hannah’s Refuge, P.O. Box 56, Union, MO 63084.
For more information8, people may email firstname.lastname@example.org.