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Kids Living at a Metro Shelter are Enjoying a Summer of Firsts

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A metro organization is providing homes for families in need and support systems to help them get back on their feet.

Hope Ministries provides rooms, food and friendship for people down on their luck. Their Hope Center for women and children is far from a stereotypical shelter, and it’s giving some metro kids the best summer of their lives.

“I went to camp for the first time this summer and I learned how to swim,” said 10-year-old MaKennah Moen.

She lives at the Hope Center with her mother, Morgan, and her four siblings.

“We ended up here because my husband, their dad, we had been married for almost 14 years and he relapsed into doing meth,” said Morgan Moen. “I had been staying home and homeschooling them. I hadn’t worked in eight years and I was just feeling very helpless and depressed and I didn’t know what to do.”

Cindy Baldwin can relate.

“Back in 2016, I received a call from my sister’s nurse that she wasn’t going to have long to make it,” said Baldwin. “I quit my job and I moved to Georgia to care for my sister.”

Her sister survived, but Baldwin’s life was turned upside down.

“When she got better, she ended up taking all my money. Our food got stolen, clothing, everything we owned was taken. From that point we would just walk the streets and it wasn’t a good environment.”

Moen and Baldwin both found support at Hope Ministries.

“It’s been great since we’ve been here,” said Moen. “It’s just been getting better and better. Our life has been turning around.”

“At basketball camp we played dodgeball for a few minutes, we played basketball. I played with my friends and we had art class,” said Baldwin’s 10-year-old Lunden Maxwell.

“I got to ride horses and I got to do a zipline,” said MaKennah. “We went to Adventureland. Last week I rode the Monster. I kept my eyes closed the whole time.”

“For me it was huge to even let them go to camp,” said Moen. “But to watch them go and they weren’t afraid, and they had so much fun. We could never afford that before, so I never really thought about it too much.”

“Just being here. Just allowing Lunden to go to camp, it’s just a blessing,” said Baldwin. “I feel like it’s just a reward for what we went through."

Upon completion of Hope Ministries' life recovery program, Baldwin and Moen will have employment, stable housing and a recovery community. The organization also offers continued classes, case management and counseling for alumni.

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