Hearts to Hearts Dinner & Auction benefits House of Hope

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Guests enjoy the Hearts to Hearts Dinner and Dessert Auction at the Woman’s Club of Warren last year. This year’s event is 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.

Mother Teresa once said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

The opportunity to celebrate love spread love and leave others happier will take place in time to treat your Valentine or just treat yourself.

The Second Annual Hearts to Hearts Dinner and Dessert Auction is 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Woman’s Club of Warren, 310 Market St., Warren.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a silent auction and hors-d’oeuvres followed by dinner served at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be followed by an auction of specialty desserts.

All proceeds benefit House of Hope of Warren County. House of Hope operates a 10-bed residence for women who are transitioning out of prison for addiction-related offenses. The nonprofit organization also offers recovery groups and training classes open to Warren area women in recovery.

House of Hope’s mission is to provide a safe and structured environment where women have an opportunity to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and transforming power enabling them to take advantage of support and resources offered to assist them in becoming healthy, self-sufficient and contributing members of society.

That mission is succeeding, according to information provided by Jennifer Cullers, board member and partnership development committee chair for House of Hope.

To date, House of Hope has been home for 32 women in need of a fresh start. The recidivism rate has been much lower than the national average and many of the women are back living and working in the community.

Cullers shared success stories of former House of Hope residents ranging in age from 28 to 62.

A 28-year-old woman said, “I have struggled with cocaine use for about 10 years. I was abused by my stepfather. Later by my husband who introduced me to drugs. I was attending college but had to move and have not been clean long enough to restart my education. Now since I’ve been at House of Hope I’m making better choices in friends. I’m looking forward to continuing my education.”

A 32-year-old woman turned her life around when she learned to trust. “When I first arrived at the HOH I was addicted to Meth. I was very insecure and had been sexually abused by an uncle as a teenager,” she wrote. “So, I wasn’t trusting and kept to myself. During my stay there, I began to realize I could trust the volunteers and the other girls living there. Eventually, I was able to get a full-time job and bought a car. After about six months I was able to get my own apartment. Now I live on my own and have been clean for over two years. I even get to see my kids every weekend and during the week. I’m working towards total custody at this time.”

A 62-year-old woman said she went to House of Hope because of her addiction to heroin. “I desperately wanted to stop using,” she wrote. “While at the House of Hope I was encouraged to not only stop using drugs but to make better friends and stop some of my destructive habits in my relationships with my daughter and grandchildren. I’ve been clean for three years and I’ve even remarried. I’m so glad I came to House of Hope.”

House of Hope receives no government funding. The nonprofit depends solely on donor contributions to keep the doors open. They are committed to running a cost-effective program with minimum overhead, made possible by the dedication of many trained volunteers.

To donate or volunteer call (814) 706-3234 or email hohwarrencounty@gmail.com.

Financial gifts may be made payable to House of Hope of Warren County, PO Box 881, Warren, Pa. 16365.

Tickets for the Hearts to Hearts Dinner and Auction are $35 each. They can be ordered online at heartstohearts.eventbrite.com, or visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/hohwarrencounty/.