Cold weather affects Bethlehem House fundraiser

By Tammy Keith Published December 12, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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CONWAY — The cold weather made a difference to Conway’s homeless shelter, Bethlehem House, in a couple of ways.

One, its tour of homes fundraiser at The Village at Hendrix went on as planned, albeit with fewer attendees, the executive director said.

Two, the weather brought in a couple of additional people in need to the shelter’s new facility at 1115 Parkway in downtown Conway.

“We had a couple who live in tents, generally, come in, and we set up beds in the dining room for them,” she said.

“They didn’t really fit our emergency provisions, but it was miserable. They came in wet to start with Friday, so we just dragged some mattresses down and put them in the dining room for the night,” she said.

The Bethlehem House Holiday Tour of Homes in The Village at Hendrix in Conway was held Saturday and Sunday as planned, despite the ice.

“It was great,” Lively said. “The numbers were down a little. The weather definitely impacted it, but for those who came out, the snow on the ground, or the ice, set the tone.”

Lively said Monday that she was catching up on emails and hadn’t counted the proceeds.

“The ones who came out really enjoyed it, is what I heard. There were different homes this year than last. They were just gorgeous, and everybody just commented on that,” she said.

Many tickets were purchased in advance, she said.

“There were a few who weren’t able to make it in, to get out of their driveways, but we sold a lot of tickets [Sunday],” she said.

“People probably had cabin fever and needed to get out, and it was a great way to do it,” she said.

“The homeowners were just such good sports about — ‘just put on those little booties and come on in,’” Lively said.

Lively said one woman bought a ticket 15 minutes before the scheduled end of the tour.

“She said, ‘I’m going to rush through and see as many as I can,’ and she did,” Lively said. “I enjoyed it, too, as an attendee.”

Lesley Turner, the Bethlehem House volunteer who handled publicity for the event, wasn’t able to make it this year.

Turner said she fell on the ice in a business’s parking lot and hurt herself.

“I didn’t go out after that,” she said.

Food goes out of the shelter’s pantry almost as fast as it’s stocked, Lively said.

“When we have it, it goes,” she said. “During the Thanksgiving week, I’ll bet we gave out, just the first three days, 70 food boxes.

“I don’t think we’ve had more people come in for food [during the cold weather], but that’s partially because they often don’t get out as much,” she said.

“They take more when they come in. The food pantry continues to remain low,” Lively said.

For information about Bethlehem House, call (501) 205-0905, or visit bethlehemhouse.net.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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