A few months ago, I attended a luncheon through the Women’s Alliance of McKinney, and sat next to Ashleigh Fanning, Development Manager at Shiloh Place, a McKinney ministry to single moms and their children that offers housing, childcare and tuition assistance for up to two years. We chatted over lunch, and I became intrigued with the mission of Shiloh Place, especially after learning that over 900 children registered at McKinney ISD are homeless. 900 children. The purpose of Shiloh Place is to come along side homeless, single moms, deeply invest in each individual over the course of their time spent there, and then celebrate them as they move back into self-sufficient living. When I was anxious to learn more, Ashleigh graciously welcomed me to their McKinney offices so I could see first-hand what this operation entailed.
POVERTY IS GENERATIONAL
Shiloh Place was founded in 2012 by Bob and Kelley Burgess and Eppy Thern. Kelley and Eppy met while volunteering at Hope Resource Center and saw there were no facilities in North Texas to help low-income mothers once the babies were born. After recognizing the gap in support for homeless mothers, and learning that poverty is generational, Eppy, Bob and Kelley decided to address this group in a way that brought sustainable change. According to Shiloh Place If a child spends more than half of his/her childhood in poverty, at the age of 35, 45% of those children are still in poverty. If a child spends less than half of his/her childhood living in poverty, only 8% of those children are still living in poverty at the age of 35.
EDUCATION IS KEY
“Women turn to Shiloh Place for help for a wide variety of reasons,” Ashleigh explained to me a few weeks later as we toured their facility. “Some must escape abusive husbands. Some have always been on their own or have been abandoned by their husbands and they find themselves in a situation where they cannot sufficiently provide for their children.” I was shocked to learn a single mother living in McKinney needs to make an average of $23/hour to survive and provide for her family. Can you imagine how difficult this is to secure without a college education, especially considering minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour? The goal at Shiloh is to help moms remove the boundaries that are keeping them in their circumstances, which is why they’ve made education the biggest priority. To be accepted into the program, the moms must have a GED or greater, and must have a car with insurance. Once accepted, they must be in school full time (15+ hours) and work at least part time.
FAITH AND LIFE SKILLS
Once accepted into the Shiloh Place program, the moms receive weekly 1-on-1 case management by a licensed case manager. They attend Life Skills class on Tuesday nights and study topics such as Faith and Finances, Parenting, Boundaries and Forgiveness and Healing. The children, who can be no older than ten at the time of acceptance, are provided play therapy as needed and junior life skills class. Shiloh Place can accommodate 6 families at a time, and although it is a Christian organization, accepted families are not required to be Christians. A supervisor lives on-site to help the moms when needed and to ensure all rules are followed: curfews must be abided, and no visitors are allowed inside the apartment.
The best part about Shiloh Place is that 100% of their graduates are sustainably self-sufficient with an education and career needed to end the cycle of poverty for her family for generations to come. The annual budget is $325,000, and all is received through private donations. If you feel inclined to help support Shiloh Place financially, you can make a donation here. Dinner is provided for the families every Tuesday night during Life Skills class. Shiloh Place is grateful for dinner donations as well whether it is pizza delivered or something made with love in your own kitchen. For more information about donating dinner, please email Elaine Starkey at email@example.com.
Friends, may I encourage you to also watch this video about Shiloh Place? I felt so touched by hearing the story from the founders and some of the moms who literally had nothing and no other options, and Shiloh Place gave them a chance and opportunity. McKinney is incredibly blessed to have a non-profit-organization like this serving those in need in our community.