When God leads, people respond. Over and again, that’s the story of Bridge of Hope.
It started on March 2, 1987 when 37 Christians gathered in a church basement in Pennsylvania to hear three homeless women share their stories. The group represented a cross-section of churches, but was united by a deep sense of Christ’s call to compassion for homeless single mothers and their children. As they explored ways churches could make a real and lasting difference, God’s Spirit prompted ten women and men to step forward
They developed a ministry model built on three-way partnerships between homeless families, trained church-based mentoring groups, and professional staff. The first homeless single mother and her child were matched with a mentoring group in December 1989. Since then, once-homeless families have been finding long-term solutions – as well as a circle of supportive friends – with the help of Protestant and Catholic churches and Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties.
Word about Bridge of Hope’s successful model spread and the phone started ringing. After discerning God’s leading, the board of directors developed an affiliate program and in February 2000 the first affiliate was incorporated, serving Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania.
God continued to lead and the phone kept ringing with inquiries from across the country. In April 2002, Bridge of Hope National was founded and a separate board of directors established to provide leadership for the new affiliate program. The organization’s mission is to call and equip Christians to exemplify Christ’s love by creating local Bridge of Hope affiliates and sites that engage churches in this life-changing mentoring ministry with homeless and at-risk women and children.
Today there are 16 Bridge of Hope affiliates and sites in 8 states. Bridge of Hope National has received requests for information from people throughout the U.S. and in a number of Canadian provinces. We also hear every week from single mothers who are homeless or facing eviction in communities across the country.