Restoring Lives; Rebuilding Hope for those who are hungry, imprisoned, victimized, and broken.
Find the hungry, feed them.
Find the imprisoned, visit them.
Find the victimized, restore them.
Find the broken, mend them.
A Bridge of Hope Ministries was founded in 2004 and our mission was to Restore Lives and Rebuild Hope for those who are hungry, imprisoned, victimized, and broken. We found that the best way to address those needs was to apply four basic principles: 1. Find the Hungry, feed them. 2. Find the Imprisoned, visit them. 3. Find the Victimized, restore them. 4. Find the Broken, mend them. With these four basic principles, we attended to the needs of the “least of these” (those God has sent us to serve) and fulfilled Matthew 25:35-46, therefore making our program truly a success!
Three of the most impacting programs we had were our prison program, caring for the victims of human trafficking and awareness campaigns, and our homeless outreaches.
The prison program was birthed out of our church prison outreach team 16 years ago. We began doing more and more in the prisons and quickly found out what a fertile ground it was with hungry souls. That church ended up dismantling, but the prisoners still needed faithful people to come facilitate Bible studies and facilitate general education/specialty workshops. ABOH became its own ministry and then began co-hosting /co-sponsoring seminars (weekend retreats) to women at MLCC with Women Ablaze Ministries under Pastor Linda White.
We started in one prison for females and then expanded into several prisons throughout the state of Tennessee. We provide professional staff training, inmate courses on a variety of different topics, such as: facilitation skills, anger management, recidivism prevention, victim impact, life skills, and many other corrections specific programming, and even collaborated with the prison officials and other vendors on several pre/post release projects. We provided meals several times throughout the year including holidays, hygiene packages and mounds of candy!
In conjunction with Shelby County Division of Corrections, we created a mentor matching program for both male and female returning citizens, ensuring a healthier and more productive return to the community, with an atmosphere of support, accountability, and promoting self-sufficiency. We facilitated classes and/or provided services to over 2,500 inmates in several prisons and trained about 450 prison staff members.
Human Trafficking Outreach:
In order to have a better quality of life, especially after having been victimized in such a horrific manner, special care and counseling is needed. Most victims have little more than whatever clothing they are wearing, if any. We worked collaboratively with law enforcement, social service agencies, and other referral sources, to provide for the needs of about 250 trafficking and abuse survivors whether directly or indirectly.
100 people come through our abuse and human trafficking recovery support group, which was held inside of the MLCC women’s prison over the course of 3 years and also into the community with those who came out of incarceration or those who just needed some abuse recovery support.
We know that the only way to stop human trafficking, is through education and awareness, therefore, we provided more than 60 awareness trainings and educational campaigns to over 10,000 people, groups, churches, agencies, and law enforcement throughout the country, including representatives from all 96 counties in the state of TN.
We were even blessed enough to go on stage before the Christian Chart Topping Band, the Newsboys and talk about the crowd about our anti-human trafficking program and the effects of human trafficking in front of 5,000 people. The concert proceeds even went towards anti-trafficking rescue homes being built in Minnesota.
ABOH received more than 13 proclamations from the Governor, State legislative officials, city/county government, and even had January 18th proclaimed as ‘A Bridge of Hope Day’ in Shelby County.
We have found that there are a lot of Mid-Southerners that have fallen on hard or extreme times and are unable to find work, resources, and the ability to make ends meet. We created a categorized resource list on our website, to allow for anyone in need to access current employment openings, community resources, or access to information. This has become such a success that over 68,500 have accessed the site, since the site was re-launched 2014 and more than ½ of those site hits are from this year alone!
Since we began providing for homeless men, women, and yes even children, we provided over 8,000 hygiene and/or complete packages, which came in the form of backpacks and included non-perishable food, bottled water/juice, hygiene items, such as: shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, wash cloth, bath towel, tooth brush, tooth paste, tooth brush holder, emery boards, lip balm, hand sanitizer, lotion/skin care items, razors, baby shampoo, baby lotion, facial/hand wipes, feminine hygiene items, pill boxes, cosmetic pouches, laundry detergent, clothing, food coupons/gift certificates to local fast food restaurants, new socks, hair brushes/combs, journals, address books, book marks, and Bibles. During certain times of the year, we provided winter knit hats, coats, gloves, scarves, blankets, luggage, sleeping bags, shoes, household cleansers (for families) and toys. Each of our packages always came with a prayed over love note to give them encouragement!
We also served hot/catered meals at each of our outreaches in addition to the non-perishable items.
We successfully saw 10 interns through our program from local colleges.
Our organization successfully managed more than 250 volunteers (regular and seasonal volunteers).