Several Sources Shelters recently celebrated their 40th anniversary with a benefit gala honoring its history and the organization’s vision for the future.
Abby Johnson was the guest speaker, and 200 people, including 27 high school students who received sponsorship to attend, gathered for the gala, said Lisa Klunder, CEO. Inviting young people and asking board members to “step in” to sponsor their participation was a crucial decision.
“It was remarkable,” Klunder said. “I wanted them to hear the Abby Johnson story. It’s such a pivotal age that we’re trying to help and get the message across. It was a fabulous event!
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New Jersey Refuges from several sources started because of a teenager.
History, vision and mission
Kathy DiFiore started the faith-based nonprofit from her home after discovering a local pregnant teenager sleeping in a car near the young woman’s high school. The seed of vision planted in Kathy’s heart, and she began to house pregnant teens in her home for free. Challenges to his efforts came in the form of legal problems and a fine of $ 10,000 for operating an illegal pension, which was later overturned thanks to the
Reagan Administration and Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
“After she (Kathy) took in a girl, she quickly learned that many girls had been kicked out of their homes because they were pregnant,” Klunder said. “Forty years ago it was totally unacceptable to be pregnant outside marriage. Being pregnant in high school was a shame and an embarrassment for the family. “
The mission is to “provide free maternity housing and support to young women facing unwanted pregnancies and related problems,” Klunder said. Several Sources Shelters are also helping these women make “life choices” through the two New Jersey maternity hospitals the organization runs and the programs offered, including education, counseling and budgeting / finance classes.
“We have been and still are incredibly blessed to serve so many girls, babies and families,” Klunder said. “Women find opportunity, success and independence, which is our goal for them.”
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According to the organization website, more than “34,000 babies were helped” thanks to the efforts of the organization.
Women stay 12 to 18 months, longer if necessary “on a case-by-case basis,” Klunder added.
“They are required to create an exit plan, almost in that first week, providing light at the end of the tunnel that they are striving towards,” she said.
Earlier this year, two women who each pursued a four-year college degree, graduated from both the school and from multiple Shelter sources; one stayed at the shelter for three years and the other for four years, Klunder said.
“I know we broke this cycle of poverty with them,” she said.
For a time like this
Klunder took over as head of multiple Shelters sources in April 2020. DiFiore retired after a car crash seriously injured her; she is now president emeritus and a member of the executive committee of the board of directors. Klunder comes from event planning and fundraising, particularly in sports philanthropy. She spent 18 years with the Indiana College Football Hall of Fame, then worked for coach Brian Kelly with his Kelly Cares Foundation.
“I loved this job so much!” Klunder said.
However, a decision came after her husband, a football coach, went to work for the New York Giants. Caring for his terminally ill mother still in Indiana, Klunder began looking for work in the New York / New Jersey area. His interviews included multiple Shelters sources with DiFiore and the chairman of the board. Klunder received job offers from the four organizations she interviewed. It was in February 2020.
“My mother, who was dying, said, ‘You have to go help the babies.’ I completely blew her away and said, ‘Oh, mom, no, I want to stay in the sport.’ She died three days later.
Then it was time to make a decision and prepare to move east to be with her husband. Then came the shutdown of COVID-19.
“All three nonprofit sports organizations have canceled their job offers. I was completely devastated, ”Klunder said.
However, the post of CEO of several source shelters was still in place, and a phone call from the chairman of the organization’s board convinced Klunder his mother was right.
It has been quite a journey for me, ”she said. “God is good because God has a vision, and my mother knew it before she died. God has such a bigger picture for us. We might not always see it from day to day, but I know I’m here for a reason, and it’s been such a gift! It has been so rewarding for me personally.
“Take him to the streets” and the mailboxes
Even before Klunder’s hiring, the housing mission extended to two other departments for shelters from multiple sources.
The first, a mobile ministry called Gift of Hope, began eight years ago. A mobile medical unit travels five days a week and provides pregnancy tests and ultrasounds as well as “counseling and encouragement,” Klunder said. The unit “goes where it is needed most – in these girls’ quarters,” she said.
The second additional program is called Special Families Ministry, in which women and their children who were once shelters from multiple sources can receive help from the organization if they are going through difficult times. For example, if a woman loses her job and needs help paying her rent or utilities, that woman can seek help from several sources of accommodation. Earlier this year, the organization ran a backpacks campaign, filling more than 140 backpacks for the children of former residents from Kindergarten to Grade 12, Klunder said.
“We mailed these backpacks to our families across the country as gifts from all of our donors… filled with the school supplies they needed for the year,” she said.
Although shelters from multiple sources focus on women living in the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, the Special Families Department remains “true to Kathy’s vision” of helping those who do. part of the program and living elsewhere.
“We will help people when we can,” Klunder said.
Vision and future changes
Several changes are planned for 2022 as a new vision takes root. The first effort is to add a second mobile as part of a partnership with Save the Storks.
“In the first quarter of 2022, we will have two units that will cross northern New Jersey,” Klunder said.
A change of brand, name and logo is also planned.
“People think we are just a refuge, but we are much more than that,” Klunder said.
The word “shelters” will be deleted and the organization will simply become “multiple sources”.
“Society has changed, the culture has changed – it is now more acceptable for a teenage girl to be pregnant,” Klunder said. “Parents and family members are more accepting of it, and that’s good. We have seen a trend and the need for shelter has changed. What we see as a need for these pregnant young girls is this daily advice – they don’t need the shelter, but they still need this support during pregnancy.
She added, “We’re at a pivotal stage, and we’re looking very carefully at the data, and we’re expanding our pregnancy resource center into a medical resource center.”
These changes require additional staff, and Klunder says she’s excited that the younger generation is stepping in with ideas and zeal.
“It’s a really exciting time – I call it a season of renewal,” she said. “The Lord has blessed us and we are really excited about our future. We have a lot of work to do and we are very excited to do it.
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