Timothy's House of Hope

Iowa shelter meets growing need for area homeless

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Hope. That is what people in need find at Timothy's House of Hope in Davenport, Iowa. They also find daily breakfasts, free haircuts, showers, food, and clothing.

Pastor Jim Swope, the founder of the Timothy's House of Hope, said he decided to found the shelter two years ago while handing out breakfast sandwiches to the homeless on the street. When he realized that all these people he was feeding didn't have any place to go, he started fundraising. Timothy's House of Hope opened on July 18, 2009.

The shelter is a faith-based program that is named after Swope's special needs son who died at age 22.

"He was kind of underprivileged, so I thought, that's a cool name, I'll just call it Timothy House and help the other less fortunate people," Swope told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

When it first opened, hours at the shelter were from 6 to 8 a.m. It now stays open until 1 p.m. Swope's hope is that he can raise enough money to stay open longer and eventually serve lunch.  

About 35 to 50 people come to Timothy's each morning for breakfast. Swope and about 10 volunteers do all the cooking, cleaning, and counseling.

"We're making an impact, not by the thousands, but by all the individuals that come in here," Swope said.

One thankful individual named Steven said he found Timothy's House by walking in off the street. He had nowhere to go and was battling drug addiction. Thanks to the volunteers at Timothy's House, he says he no longer uses drugs and is starting a new life.

Supplies for the operation of Timothy's House are all based on donations from the community.  Although the need is growing, Swope says, "through faith and prayer, all of our needs are met." At least the needs of his small shelter at this time.

In the Quad Cities area, which includes Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, shelters for the homeless are in short supply.

But Swope has plans to expand. He is working with area churches to raise money for a "Church on the Street" similar to one in Phoenix, Arizona. "Church on the Street" is a renovated motel with a food pantry, barbershop, and clothing exchange. It also has rooms available for the homeless to live in for 15 months at no charge.

Says Steven, if you are looking for hope, you can find it at Timothy's House of Hope.

"Timothy's House is for all the homeless people that need help, hope, food, clothing, and preaching," he said.

For more information about Timothy's, check out its information page.

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