Hearten House gala

Hearten House Gospel Rescue Mission Executive Director Marisa McKenzie poses in the driver’s seat of a classic automobile at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum during the Hearten House inaugural gala Feb. 8. With McKenzie, not in order, are Hearten House operations manager Cori Kashani, case manager Beth Koch, and facility supervisors Angela Helms, Danielle Sims, Cindy Schlosser, Lisa Buchanan and Sundaye Hook.

AUBURN — Hearten House Gospel Rescue Mission held its inaugural Gala on Feb. 8 at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum with a sold-out crowd.

Hearten House serves women in homeless crisis by providing a safe place to restore their lives physically, mentally and spiritually.

Since its opening in April 2018, Hearten House has housed 46 women. It currently has 31 women on a waiting list, and is at capacity with eight women residing at Hearten House. Currently there is no emergency shelter for women and children in DeKalb County, and Hearten House strives to be a solution to this issue.

The 2020 Gala was a time to celebrate the powerful testimonies of God’s kingdom work through Hearten House, the lives of women of all ages, changed by His redemptive love, and the children who will no longer be products of generational cycles of dysfunction, said Executive Director Marisa McKenzie.

The event opened with Joe Heins, board president, praying for the evening and welcoming all in attendance. McKenzie shared her testimony, which exemplified the “why” behind the programming of Hearten House.

She said Hearten House is a lifeline to women in crisis, the same kind of lifeline she had been given years ago. Once facing 38 years in prison for a drug addiction, she explained that her addiction was merely a symptom of real issues, which included trauma, homelessness, abuse and no self-worth.

McKenzie said she fell on her knees in her jail cell and gave her life to Jesus, promising to serve Him for the remainder of her years. She said the evening’s guests included her former probation officer, teachers and other mentors who have impacted her life greatly. McKenzie gave all of the credit to Jesus Christ, who, she said, is the real executive director of Hearten House.

While McKenzie invited everyone to contact her to learn more about the program, she also asked that they prayerfully consider supporting the mission, which hopes to generate enough support to secure a larger facility for women and their children.

McKenzie reiterated that DeKalb County currently has no emergency shelter for women and children and that many times women are forced to leave the county for assistance, while their children must remain in DeKalb County.

“The need is far greater than what we had anticipated, and we remain dedicated to opening an emergency shelter for women and their children. The bottom line is that we need a much larger building, which means we need the support from our community,” McKenzie said.

The evening ended with dancing to live music from Hubie Ashcraft.

“What a wonderful evening of support from the community. With 233 in attendance, the event raised over $50,000 with donor funds still rolling in, far exceeding original goal expectations. Hearten House is thankful to all who attended and looks forward to next year’s gala,” McKenzie said.

To learn more about the Hearten House Gospel Rescue Mission, people may call McKenzie at 416-6805 or Hearten House at 333-7223, follow Hearten House on Facebook or visit dciconline.org. Hearten House is a ministry of the DeKalb Community Impact Corp. and is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization.

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