The Caleb Project

April 30, 2015

Caleb Project: Community Life Center 

By Tina Hunt, Grant Writer/Fundraiser

 Since I have arrived at Pump House Ministries, I have looked out the window behind my desk and been consumed by the daunting task of removing the remaining burned and partially demolished buildings. I thought that was my job. I thought my job was to find money.

 And when I couldn’t find money immediately, when every door I approached was slammed shut, when no one even acknowledged the knock…I was ready to quit, give up, give in. I questioned my ability as a grant writer. They obviously needed someone better than me.

 Recently, though, as I closed my eyes in prayer, I sensed God speaking and reminding me the job wasn’t about buildings, or land, or frustrating committee meetings. It was about people.

 What on earth could enable a ministry to survive the setbacks Pump House has? When I consider the devastating fires, the loss of industry, the negative press, the presumptive and hurtful rumors, and the financial fiasco that all goes back to a clerical error on the property transfer papers, I am just amazed at how Bruce and Marylou keep going.

 How do they do it? Why? Because they are called to this ministry. Plenty of people see the needs, but few make it their lifework to bring about a difference. Fewer people hang in there through difficult times. The leadership and staff of Pump House live out the truth Paul shares to describe his own ministry: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NIV).

 God did not cause individuals to start fires, but God can use even that devastation to reshape and redirect. We have an opportunity to turn a disaster into an opportunity. God promises to make all things work for good. We have the space now to create a Community Life Center. I’ve named it the Caleb Project.

 Caleb was one of the scouts deployed by Moses to scout the land before the Israelites claimed the land promised to them by God. For forty days the twelve spies surveyed the land and its inhabitants. Ten returned and reported to Moses there was no way they could do it. Caleb and Joshua saw the same things, acknowledged the enormity of the task, but chose to take God at his word: the land would be theirs.

 So yes, some buildings need to come down, and new buildings need to be built, but not as a tribute to any man or family. No, this project is about providing jobs, spaces for start-up businesses, and housing. The community will be able to partake of a park and a banquet center. This Center is completely in line with the Pump House mission and philosophy of not merely giving a hand out, but extending a hand up.

What are the needs? How will the Caleb Project address these?

In our community there is already one group providing training for industry related employment. When it comes to work, however, it isn’t a matter of one size fits all. Pump House provides many opportunities, a variety of work settings for individuals to plug into. There is work through the FOL Textile Industry, and through the Retail/Resale Shops. Additionally, there is work with the catering business and there are plans for that to increase and grow within the Caleb Project Community Kitchen.

Pump House has worked in the past with individuals to setup incubator enterprises. Before the fire we assisted the start up of four business enterprises. Two of those are still operating (Champion Pump and K&C Wood and Framed Art, LLC).

Housing—Men’s Shelter
One of the largest groups of homeless in this area is single men.
There are no other agencies equipped to handle this population.
Pump House, while offering temporary shelter, has always been more of a work related program.

Future designs are for a state of the art shelter for men that will address emergency needs as well as long term programming/training.

Our current house needs some remodeling and will continue to be used for housing after new shelter is built.

Housing—Remodel Duplexes
There are still two houses on Pump House Property, each with two apartments.
Each house needs extensive remodeling and repair, but once completed will offer low income housing for 4 families.

Food Pantry: when fully functioning, the pantry provided food for at least 200 people a month. We would relocate the pantry, expand and improve the equipment, as well as consider ways to improve service and networking within the community.
Community Kitchen:  The Community Kitchen will serve the dual purpose of providing
daily meals and special occasion meals as well as providing jobs for those preparing and serving those meals.

This list just scratches the surface. There’s a lot to be done and we are looking for partners who will share in the task with us. We need financial backers. We need prayer warriors. We need people who will volunteer. The Pump House has been blessed to have some of the best volunteers and generous backers. We thank God for them.

If you have been looking for a place and a way to serve, we invite you to consider Pump House Ministries. Will you stand with us, believing like Caleb did: if God calls us to it then he will see us through it!

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