For Missie Summers, life looked good. She had a degree in psychology, two healthy boys and was engaged to be married. The small family lived together in Valparaiso and Missie was working on a master’s degree, while caring for her sons, 1, and 14. Overnight her world changed. “My fiancé left us without any warning and we learned that we were being evicted from our home in just four days,” said Summers.
Summers was left without an income, a home or answers. Her nearest family was hours away and she had no wheels. “We slept in a friend’s van for four and a half weeks,” she admitted, tearfully. Then she learned about Gabriel’s Horn, a refuge for homeless women and children in Porter County. The home had a waiting list, but soon Summers and her boys moved into the facility, which can house up to 13 people. Gabriel’s Horn provides housing, counseling and support services to help families reshape their futures.
“The most important thing they gave me at Gabriel’s Horn was peace of mind. I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to feed my boys, where we would sleep or how we would bathe,” said Summers. With counseling and assistance, Summers could begin considering the next step for their future. “Gabriel’s Horn was the best experience at the worst of times. I had a degree in psychology and my goal was to help people facing problems like these; not become one,” she said.
Less than six weeks later, Summers and her boys were able to move into temporary housing through Housing Opportunities. Her teenager is back in school and back to himself. Summers is looking for a job. “I have a renewed appreciation for the people who help others. I’m like anyone else. You just never know what may be happening in another person’s life,” said Summers, who is now looking ahead to a brighter and more independent future. “I feel very hopeful. I’m excited to be able to get things back on track,” she said.
Missie Summers and her family aren’t alone. Last year Gabriel’s Horn and Housing Opportunities served more than 7,000 people in Porter County, providing solutions through safe and affordable housing, and support services to build self-reliance. However, a waiting list remains as the need continues to outpace resources. To help support these organizations, the Porter County Community Foundation is introducing an innovative way to raise funds: Porter County GIVE Day.
Porter County GIVE Day is a one-day giving holiday on Nov. 8. On this one day only, gifts to 17 local organizations that provide shelter services will receive matching funds from a pool of more than $50,000 contributed by generous sponsors through the Porter County Community Foundation.