Hoping for Better Future

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Numerous trees fell on The Hope Village for Children campus during Hurricane Katrina. One of those trees struck a cottage which sustained major water damage.

The cottage has since been repaired, but to the keen observer, a few details still remain.

As we approach the holiday season, Hope Village is also in need of volunteers at its thrift store on 8th Street.

"We can't afford to pay everyone to work at the thrift store, so we are really looking for volunteers there," said director Tina Dyess. "As far as the grounds go, after the storm, we have pretty much gotten those things take care of."

Only a handful of tree stumps remain, but those, too, will eventually be removed. Katrina also sped up the process of opening up the fourth of five planned cottages. This raises the capacity of Hope Village to 44 children, but it also puts a strain on the budget.

"What most people don't realize is that each one of our cottages that we have open, we have to plan for about a $50,000 deficit," said Dyess.

The good news is that area residents care about Hope Village. Over the weekend, the Run for Hope was held at Bonita Lakes Park. One hundred thirty people participated in four events, which raised approximately $15,000.

"But we raised a lot of money which will be used right here, directly used for the children at Hope Village," said Monte Royal, a member of the board. "We will use it to buy sporting goods, baseball gloves, football cleats. We will us it for repairs and maintenance on the cottages."

Eventually Hope Village for Children would like to open its fifth cottage, which would raise its overall capacity to around 55 children for both long-term and short-term care.