Pastor Heather Boone led services at a small church in Monroe, Michigan for several years before she and her husband decided to start their own church, Oaks of Righteousness.
When they went to see the building, which was being used as a warming shelter at the time, Boone spotted a homeless man sleeping outside the doors. She immediately felt sad that she would be taking away the only “home” this man had.
She decided to keep the shelter open and even moved in so that she could raise money to eventually buy a bigger building.
Oaks of Righteousness purchased the former Salvation Army Church property. They reopened the Warming Shelter that had been housed and operated in the church basement. They then opened the OHOP Café, which feeds
lunch to over 250 individuals between May and September. Eventually, they expanded and became a year round homeless shelter.
Not only is it a shelter, but it also serves as a food pantry, clothes closet, soup kitchen, free childcare center, free medical clinic, and a nonprofit grocery store.
According to their website, their mission is to “Restore, Rebuild and Repurpose – rebuild our community, restore families and repurpose individuals.” Oaks Village serves as “a one-stop-shop for physical, spiritual and emotional needs to be met for individuals and families.”
“There is no one road to homelessness,” Boone said. “These are people just like you. We are all just a few paychecks away from being in this same predicament.”
Boone’s kindness and efforts for improving her community’s access to shelter and food has won her the USA TODAY Best of Humankind Awards Person of the Year.
Click here to learn more about Oak’s Village.