The purpose of the shelter is to provide a positive community service for individuals in need while helping to assist and/or accommodate the less fortunate through direction, dedication, understanding, encouragement and constant care. The shelter intends to give people in impoverishment the opportunity to change and the chance to better their lives.
Pastor and Chief Volunteer Officer Darrell Lowe spoke about the importance of the much needed shelter and the significance of community involvement/responsibility.
“It’s about the people and the needs they have,” said Lowe. “We want to change lives but we need help from everyone in the community to make this shelter work.”
The shelter will be open 24/7 and can house up to 18 individuals at once. For those staying, there is a 30 day stay limit and exceptions could possibly be made to this policy depending on circumstance/situation.
As part of the application process, individuals are to have photo identification and must be willing to work if able and/or unemployed. If individuals do not have a high school diploma, they will be enrolled in G.E.D classes and the shelter — with the help of Bell Whitley and the Bell County Work Release Program — will assist in finding work for people in need. Children must be enrolled in school and daily chores/duties will be assigned to individuals staying at the shelter. People will be responsible for keeping their units clean, doing laundry and helping in any other ways necessary. The shelter — with the help of volunteers — will provide those staying with meals and guests will not have to help with the preparation of food.
The shelter has units for both men and women and each room is equipped with bunk beds, storage lockers for personal belongings and private bathrooms/showers. The shelter also provides a living area for guests, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry room and the shelter is handicapped accessible. It is a non-smoking facility, and drugs and alcohol are not permitted under any circumstance. Also, a video surveillance camera system has been installed throughout the shelter and individuals will be held responsible for his/her actions.
The Lighthouse Safe Haven Shelter is primarily a volunteer operation and donations are a vital part of the shelter’s upkeep. Pastor Darrell Lowe addressed this matter and spoke about the future of the shelter:
“We do need help. We do need donations,” stated Lowe. “We’ve had a lot already but we are going to need a whole lot more. The Lighthouse works almost totally on volunteers, and we understand this is going to be a little more difficult task. We’re going into this blindly but we’re trusting God for all of this, and we believe that everything is going to work out for the betterment of those that are less fortunate.”
The shelter was made possible by the continuous efforts of community members, local public officials, business owners, church members, various local agencies and clubs, and countless individuals/volunteers, including the following: State Representative Rick Nelson, Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock and the Bell County Physical Court Magistrates, Judge Costanzo, Bell County Jailer Rex Miller and the Work Release Program, Pineville City Council, The Rotary Club, United Way, Arnett Steele Funeral Home, Hometown Floral, Sizemore’s Furniture, First Christian Church of Middlesboro, Riverside Baptist Church, Mission of Hope (Knoxville, Tennessee), East Flat Rock Baptist Church of North Carolina, Laurel Hill Pentecostal Church, Molus Pentecostal Church, Pineville Community Hospital, Creek Side Market, Richard Witherite and InterFaith of Bell County, Bell Whitley, Kentucky Housing Authority, Experience Works Program, Kentucky Works Program, WYMT News Media, Middlesboro Daily News, Pineville Sun, Pine Mountain Shopper, Constable Elmer “Peewee” Brock, Tommy Asher, Lynn Baker, David Baker, Harold and Phyllis Hoskins, Sharon Parrott, Scott Madon, Bo Calebs, Joyce Jackson and the numerous volunteers and community members that have dedicated time and/or money in support of the shelter mission.
Members of the Lighthouse Ministries Safe Haven Board, who have also worked tirelessly toward the opening of the shelter, are: Pastor and Chief Volunteer Officer Darrell Lowe, Chief Volunteer Vice Officer Roger Hoskins, James Teaney, James Caldwell, Danny Miller, Joe Saylor, Craig Saylor, Secretary Joyce Wichman, Treasurer Jackie Hoskins and Shelter Director Eulene Brock — was also recognized
Anyone wishing to volunteer his/her time or donate money to the mission of the Lighthouse Ministries Safe Haven Shelter can contact the Lighthouse Mission Center at 606-337-1834 for more information.