Villa Care staff showed they care

Donation to Lotus Community Project will benefit homeless women and children

Extending the season of giving beyond the actual day of Christmas is a worthy endeavor. That’s why the staff of the Fort Dodge Villa Care Center’s gift to the Lotus Community Project women’s shelter should be applauded.

For a month, they have steadily filled large plastic tubs to overflowing with the intent of helping stock necessities for the homeless shelter that will open for women and children in rural Webster County.

Clothes, coats, blankets, knitting yarn and needles, crock pots, games, coloring books, socks and basic hygiene items were stuffed into the tubs given to Lotus Director Ashley Vaala on Wednesday.

“We knew they were up and going,” Jessica Bellinger, social services designee at Villa Care, said. “We knew they could use things. We reached out and they gave us a list of things they were in need of.”

She added, “We are very proud of our team.”

Homeless women and children in the greater Fort Dodge area will be housed at the shelter, which is located in the former St. John’s Lutheran Church. The property, northeast of Fort Dodge, was donated by Iowa District West, which took ownership of the church when it closed in August of 2017.

“We were asked that it be repurposed for a good use or have it torn down,” the Rev. Steve Turner, of Iowa District West, told The Messenger earlier this year. “We can’t think of a better way to repurpose this structure than to use it for a homeless shelter for women.”

The public is invited to visit the Lotus Community Project shelter during an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 20. The address is 2980 170th St., Vincent.

The next day, Jan. 21, Lotus will open for clients.

On Wednesday, Vaala reflected on the donations that have helped the dream of such a shelter a reality. She said Villa Care employees working together is exactly how Lotus was accomplished.

“It’s the community coming together as a group and working to make a difference.”

The Messenger couldn’t agree more.