ALEXANDRIA — Five months ago, Beauty for Ashes merged with Muncie Mission Ministries to strengthen its failing financial position.
Now the organization is seeking support from the community.
“We cannot do it alone,” said Libby Parker, director of women’s services. “There is no way you can pull off something like this by yourself. Even with Muncie Mission, we can’t do it alone. We are always in need of the community – that’s the only way we can do our jobs.”
Beauty for Ashes is a transitional home offering a safe place for women in crisis working to overcome homelessness. The organization is Christ-centered and helps women establish personal and spiritual growth through a six- to 18-month program in order to change their lives.
In January, the Alexandria facility merged with Muncie Mission Ministries Inc. to continue providing services through Muncie Mission.
Frank Baldwin, executive director for Muncie Mission, issued a public letter seeking “continued prayer support, financial support and advocacy” for Beauty for Ashes.
“Recently, it has come to my attention that some think BFA no longer needs your support because of the partnership with the Mission,” Baldwin wrote in the letter. “That could not be further from the truth.”
Parker described the situation before the merger as “getting pretty serious.”
“They weren’t going to be able to fund staffing anymore, and you are at risk of basically having to shut down,” she said.
Parker said prior to the merger Beauty for Ashes was struggling to bring in enough money to “keep things afloat” and Muncie Mission was looking to expand its services to include programs for women. The merger was a perfect solution for both organizations.
“So it was an opportunity for the two ministries to combine,” she said. “Even though they are a bigger nonprofit, as a nonprofit you are always trying to see how far you can stretch your dollar.”
The merger eased some administrative operating expenses for the women's program, which means funding given to the organization goes directly to client care, Parker said.
“Which, I think, is really important and really great,” she said. “I think everyone in Madison County is aware we are desperate for an emergency shelter and other women services. There is just not enough women services in this county – or Delaware or Grant even.”
Despite the merger, the home is still experiencing financial difficulties and while the organization hopes to eventually expand its services, right now “it’s just about stabilizing the ministry here in Alexandria and making sure we can continue to serve women,” Parker said.
Those looking to assist the 501(c)(3) organization can donate funds to the Muncie Mission and note BFA as the designation. BFA is also in need of women’s clothing, toiletry items and volunteers. To make a donation or learn how to volunteer at BFA, visit 103 N. West St., Alexandria, or call 765-288-9122 ext. 702.
“Obviously donating money is always helpful," Parker said.
She said a recent client left prison with only a pair of sweatpants and a shirt.
“That’s it,” Parker said. “We provided everything else, all the clothing and hygiene items. We are not talking about extravagant things.”
Follow Traci L. Miller @_TraciMiller on Twitter, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 765-640-4805.
To make a donation or learn how to volunteer at Beauty for Ashes, visit 103 N. West St., Alexandria, or call 765-288-9122 ext. 702.