OKEECHOBEE — Lighthouse Refuge plans to open doors on their rehab home for homeless and abused women this year.
Lighthouse director Donna Dean said, “We are so close. If we could just get 400 people to pledge $10 a month, there would be no problem at all getting those doors open.” Dean said she trusts God to meet the financial needs and to open the doors in His time, but her wish is to open the doors in 2023.
Lighthouse Refuge Inc. has been a part of Okeechobee for the past 20 years, offering programs to counsel women with emotional issues as well as educational skills, programs related to computer skills, homemaking skills, college courses, job training and money management. Dean said the only real requirements are that the person seeking help must be a woman and must want to be helped. They are not all victims of abuse, and they are not all homeless. The thing they all have in common is they need someone to offer them a helping hand, and that is what God called her to do, she explained.
Using God’s Word, the refuge seeks to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the homeless, abused and brokenhearted women God places in their path.
The plan for the new home is for it to be a rehabilitation home for homeless and/ or abused women. It is not meant to be an emergency shelter but more of a long-term rehabilitative home where the women will stay for three months to a year. Prior to their move to a senior park, the Deans took women into their own home to help them, but they are not allowed to do this where they are now located. This is why the rehab home is so needed, she explained.
Lighthouse Refuge is supported through donations, which can be mailed to Lighthouse Refuge Inc., P.O. Box 2573, Okeechobee, Florida 34973. Dean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 863-801-9201.
As an additional fundraiser, they are selling bricks for their walkway. There are two different size bricks. One is 4x8 for $100 donation and one is 8x8 for $225. “You can put anything you want on it,” she said. “In memory of somebody, whatever they want on it, they can put on it.” You can even order a donor brick with felt backing to keep for yourself: A 4x8 is $35 and an 8x8 is $40.
Dean can also be heard on WOKC on the first Thursday of every month at 8:50 a.m., when she talks about some of the things going on with the refuge.
“I really feel this will be the year we will be opening up the house,” she said. Whether that happens or not, Dean said she trusts God. “Until the house is open, we will continue working with the women one on one as we have been doing,” she explained.