Victoria’s Hope founder April Bowen German said, “Donations keep pouring in.” (courtesy photo)
DODGE CITY – Less than two months ago, April Bowen German was trying to start a charity for single parents, to honor the memory of her mother Victoria Hammond Hankey. Less than a month ago, Victoria’s Hope was up and running out of a rented storage unit that had already become filled to capacity; German was trying to find a permanent home for her ministry. This Saturday, July 21, German and her sister Heather Hankey will host an open house in the new headquarters of Victoria’s Hope at 859 Alabama Highway 69 in Dodge City.
“I was amazed at how fast I was able to find a location,” said German. “I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a bigger location where my clients could come and shop for free for the things they need, and people were so great to share that I was looking for something, and I signed my lease by that evening! It’s in the basement in the back of the building, but it’s the perfect size for what I wanted to do.
“I have been so blessed by the community in this endeavor. The donations keep pouring in, so much that I have had to get extra racks because my racks of clothes are full. People have been so sweet to help as much as they could, from volunteering their time and services, to getting me donations in the form of items and monetary. Through the monetary donations I have been able to outreach my ministry to people financially, just recently helping a family with a child in the hospital in Birmingham.”
German explained her vision and how people can get help:
“My plan starting this was to focus on getting single parents things for themselves that they normally wouldn’t be able to afford, but it has turned out to be so much more. I’ve helped families with both parents that had urgent situations. I’m not going to turn down anyone in need. Now that I have my shop, the way it is going to work is potential clients can message us on Facebook or email us at email@example.com to see if they qualify financially. If they do, we then set up an appointment time for them to come and shop for free for the things they need, whether it’s clothes, household items, purses, even clothing for their children and baby items. Thanks to all the donations, we have a variety of things at the shop. And of course, I will still be taking nominations from other people who would like to ‘surprise’ a deserving parent.”
At the open house on Saturday, according to German, “Everyone is invited to come and see what we are doing. We will be passing out school supplies to children on this day, also. I just ask that they have their school supply list with them when they come. And we can’t promise that we will have everything on the list, but we will give what we have. And it will be on a first come-first serve basis, so get there early! We will also have cookies and lemonade for the kiddos. Clients are also welcome to come that day to shop, but will have to message us first to make sure they qualify. We will also be selling $5 Charity Sale Belk tickets on that day. If you purchase a ticket you will be able to get in to shop their private ticket event sale on Aug. 25 and they will get their $5 back off of their first purchase. And all the proceeds from the ticket sales will go back to Victoria’s Hope.
“We hoped to have our driveway paved by Saturday, but the weather isn’t cooperating, so it isn’t looking too promising. Since we are behind the building if you aren’t in a truck or SUV on Saturday I encourage you to park in the front parking lot to avoid getting stuck. We will have signs up showing everyone where to go.”
Seeing the vision become reality
Said German, “I have just been so blessed by our community. It’s amazing, when you go through a tough trial in your life, the goodness that you see in people. I have seen more goodness and love since my mom’s passing and through doing this than I ever have before. This community is filled with people with the biggest hearts and are always there to help someone in need. I started this because it was something my mom always wanted to do, and it has helped me to turn my grief into something positive. And now, it’s turned into a dream of mine also that I can do and keep my mom’s legacy and hopes and dreams going. I just hope somehow she knows what an impact she has made in such a short period of time since her passing.”
What Victoria’s Hope needs
Victoria’s Hope is currently in need of plus-size women’s items and men’s clothing. Donations can be dropped off at
Bubble Gum and Blue Jeans, 400 Fifth St SW Suite A in Cullman, near Grumpy’s Italian Grill
Younique Sophistication, 105 Second Ave. SE in Cullman, across from Sacred Heart Church
The drop-off locations also have the $5 Belk tickets available for purchase.
German said that Victoria’s Hope should be a registered nonprofit by the beginning of August, so all donations will be tax-deductible.
“I don’t know where this ministry will take me,” said German. “I’m just going to follow God’s plan for it. I hope to expand it into something so much greater where I can serve so many more people. Everyone has been so supportive. On the days where I’m exhausted and wonder if what I’m doing is going to work, I get a message from someone telling me how proud they are of this and how much of an impact it’s going to make on people, and that’s what keeps me going.”
At a glance
Victoria’s Hope Open House
Saturday, July 21, 2018, from noon-5 p.m.
859 Alabama Highway 69 South in Dodge City (map in GPS has a Hanceville address). Located in the back of the old Chevron building, next to the Dodge City Browser.
It’s not required, but feel free to bring donations, including men’s clothes, plus-size women’s clothes or kids’ school supplies.
For more, see www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2018/06/26/victoria-s-hope-new-area-charity-serves-single-parents.
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