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Carlisle woman goes from homeless to helpful - abc27 WHTM

Carlisle woman goes from homeless to helpful

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  • Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:02:59 GMT
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
  • Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Chancel Makeover Marks Dillsburg Church Centennial

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:17 AM EDT2014-08-15 13:17:26 GMT
    St. Paul's Lutheran Church is an easily recognized landmark of downtown Dillsburg, standing high on a hill, with large stain glass windows and an adjacent prayer garden.But it's inside the church where a remodeling project marks the celebration of the building's 100th anniversary.The most noticeable change is the altar area, now several feet wider, and easier to access.Pastor Lois Van Orden says the centennial seemed like the perfect time to modernize the chancel and choir area."The thing tha...More >>
    St. Paul's Lutheran Church is an easily recognized landmark of downtown Dillsburg, standing high on a hill, with large stain glass windows and an adjacent prayer garden.But it's inside the church where a remodeling project marks the celebration of the building's 100th anniversary.The most noticeable change is the altar area, now several feet wider, and easier to access.Pastor Lois Van Orden says the centennial seemed like the perfect time to modernize the chancel and choir area."The thing tha...More >>
  • Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Union County Museum Honors Buggy Makers

    Tuesday, August 12 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-08-12 13:35:19 GMT
    The Buggy Museum in Mifflinburg is a tribute to a transportation industry that once thrived in the heart of Union county."They think they're coming to learn about one buggy maker," said museum executive director Bronwen Sanders, "when, in fact, we actually had 90 buggy makers in town."A visit there is a unique look at carriage making, housed in the refurbished buildings where William Heiss, his family and a handful of workers once turned out much in demand buggies, carriages and sleighs."Peop...More >>
    The Buggy Museum in Mifflinburg is a tribute to a transportation industry that once thrived in the heart of Union county."They think they're coming to learn about one buggy maker," said museum executive director Bronwen Sanders, "when, in fact, we actually had 90 buggy makers in town."A visit there is a unique look at carriage making, housed in the refurbished buildings where William Heiss, his family and a handful of workers once turned out much in demand buggies, carriages and sleighs."Peop...More >>

When it was the James Wilson hotel, the four story building just off the square in downtown Carlisle was a place where people wanted to stay. But, for the last twenty six years, it's been a place where some people needed to stay. The building is part of the Safe Harbour homeless shelter network in Cumberland County. And, until six weeks ago, it's where Helen Macdonald lived.

"I was very down," said Macdonald, looking back on that time. " I was very depressed. I just never thought I could be in that position."

Just a year ago, the college educated, single mom was living in her car, after losing her job and home when her Camp Hill employer suddenly left town

"I just felt so hopeless," she said. " Like I had no future. I had no purpose."

But with counseling and encouragement from Safe Harbour staff and fellow residents, all that changed.

"One thing this whole experience has given me," she said, " is kind of a heart for other people."

Macdonald has her own apartment now, and volunteers time to the New Life Community Church out of Mt. Holly Springs. She often helps with the church's Sunday morning service and breakfast held in the Carlisle Theater building. And she does all this while raising funds for an upcoming mission trip to Haiti to help with earthquake relief efforts.

with funding from individuals, businesses, churches and government grants, Safe Harbour provides shelter and services at several locations in cumberland county, for a growing and varied list of clients. In a typical year, Safe Harbour provides 38-thousand nights of shelter for those in need.

Community Relations and Development Director for Safe Harbour, Scott Shewell said the stereotypical image of a homeless person doesn't fit anymore. "We have everything from newborn to elderly veterans, families and single women," he said.

Those in charge of helping the homeless get their lives turned around say it's not about looking back, but, instead, looking ahead.

"I am very excited about the future," said Macdonald. "I actually feel like I have a future."

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