Acres of Hope Welcomes First Residents

Post a Comment » Written on June 2nd, 2006     
Filed under: News
APPLEGATE, CA (June 2, 2006) – Hope begins in the strangest places. For three homeless women and their children in Placer County, California, it began on the back of a napkin at a church retreat.

In September 2004, Frank Calton, board chairman of the local Bay Area Rescue Mission, sat at a table during a retreat with some church friends and a pastor from Bayside Covenant Church, sketching out his dream for a residence at which homeless women could live for up to two years with their children. Room renewed

Calton, a Bayside member who managed the church’s building program, knew there was nothing in Placer County to serve the estimated 200 homeless women and children who live there. “They are the most underserved population in our area.”

Recently that dream became a reality, when three families moved into the Acres of Hope Renewal Center amid the scenic Sierra foothills. The residence will eventually house 10 families.

Staff and volunteers will use a holistic approach to meet the spiritual, social and physical needs of the women and their families, who come to the residence through referral. A broad-based approach – including counseling, job training, parenting and life skills – will help improve the women’s chances of not returning to the streets.

Children will receive tutoring and be paired with a mentor. Partnerships have been formed with the business community, colleges and trade schools, to help the women pursue work.

At the time Calton presented his idea, Jim Holst, pastor of outreach at Bayside, said the church had been discussing whether they wanted to spread money around to a number of small projects or invest in a few major opportunities. Outside

Holst was excited while listening to Calton sketch his grand vision. “If Frank gets an idea, he’s like a bulldog,” Holst says. “He’s going to work hard and it probably will get done, so I thought this could really happen.”

A steering committee was formed of members from Bayside and neighboring Valley Springs Church. They began meeting with government and social service representatives to turn the dream into reality in late 2004.

The residence site, the former Applegate Inn, was identified in April 2005. Small groups from different churches refurbished each of the rooms, adding special touches so that none are the same. Six hundred people have offered to help with the program.

Volunteers will have plenty of opportunities to continue serving, including delivering meals to residents for several months. The resident families will eat communally, but Acres of Hope won’t have a commercial kitchen ready until sometime during the summer. Until then, the program will depend on volunteers cooking meals at home and then bringing them to the residence.

Despite a heavy dependence on volunteers, the program will cost more than $1 million dollars to operate, Calton says. A three million dollar capital campaign also is underway to purchase the 10 acres of property on which the residence is located. The property will provide room for expanding the program.

“There’s a lot of room for faith,” Calton says.

To learn more or contribute financially, visit the Acres of Hope website, or email

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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