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Reflecting on Labor Day and The Labor of Love

It is Labor Day. Many who have jobs are taking a break from the normal Monday workday. Of course, this does not apply to some – convenience store clerks, for example, or first responders, and those who staff emergency shelters such as Bethesda House.

Since opening, Bethesda House has given refuge to 22 women and children. They have received safe shelter; meals, trauma-based therapy; court advocacy, such as filing protective orders and accessing legal aid; assistance replacing personal documents and identification; medical and dental care; assistance with education and employment – all free of charge.

The services are essential, of course. Yet services alone do not bring healing. Healing comes from love, which is foundational to all we do at Bethesda House. The work is not always easy. Our hearts break over what some of our residents have endured. Our anger rises when children are used as weapons for keeping women bound to an abusive relationship. Yet in every case, our resolve increases to take another step forward with those who share this journey.

What does it mean to labor in a place such as this? It means listening to stories, helping a small child work a puzzle, giving a newborn a bottle, making pancakes on a Saturday morning, and having tissue close at hand if tears start to fall. Laboring here means picking the daily batch of banana peppers – which are about the only thing to thrive in the garden this year, coaxing the tomatoes for just a few more offerings, and pushing the tiny sweet potatoes back down in the sandy soil as they try to emerge too soon.

Laboring at Bethesda House is also about providing opportunities for our residents in the form of work that will help them develop transferrable skills for future employment. Our new social enterprise startup has created another layer of programming for residents. We are repurposing and refreshing items to eventually be sold, with the profits going toward expansion and stipends for residents. Together we sand, power wash, and paint. We strategize marketing methods and discuss the best ways to manage a small business as a community. We give hope for a future that can look better than the pasts which haunt them.

This work, with all the messiness that comes with it, is a labor of love… because love heals. And when healing happens, thriving begins.

Our labor is not funded by the state or the federal government. Bethesda House currently depends on donations from individuals, foundations, and local municipalities. If you would like to support Bethesda House financially, please consider doing so with a one-time gift or on an ongoing basis. If you prefer, gifts can be ear-marked for something specific. There are many tangible needs to consider. Some possibilities include:

- Contributing toward our utilities

- Contributing to the cost of therapy

- Funding the insurance and gasoline for our van for a period of time

- Paying our monthly security system fee or assisting us in purchasing additional exterior cameras for the property

- Providing materials for our social enterprise

- Supporting us as we increase our staff to include a case manager and survivor advocates

Gifts can be made via Venmo (Bethesda-House-1) or CashApp ($BethesdaHouseAL). Checks can be mailed to:

Bethesda House – PO Box 397 – Andalusia, AL 36420

Join us in our Labor of Love!

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