The decision to start a new life after abuse is a heroic one, but unfortunately for a number of survivors, the challenges don’t stop there. Many are left with few to no belongings and struggle to get started without adequate resources.
Blessed Beginnings, a nonprofit operating under HSI since June 2021, supports women and their families with much-needed household items after they leave a women’s shelter. More than just donations, though, Blessed Beginnings offers a support system and a connection to faith that they can lean on while they begin their next chapter.
It all began in April 2021 when Jordan Rentschler, who works in early intervention for young children, received a call about a child who was living in a women’s shelter. Upon getting to know the mother—a survivor of physical and mental domestic abuse—Rentschler felt called to do something for her. So, she reached out to family and friends and asked for clothing donations for the child. She was shocked to receive not just a few items of clothing, but numerous household items, toiletries, bedroom pieces, gift cards for groceries, toys for the child, and more. Seeing the mother’s reaction when she delivered the gifts made Rentschler realize that her act of kindness could have a far-reaching impact.
“This woman, who had every reason to turn away from not only God, but humanity as well, didn’t let the hard times ruin her future. By a small act of kindness, her faith in humanity and God was restored. She became confident, strong, and knew her self-worth just by a little help given to her. She didn’t have to worry about where or when she would be able to buy the necessary items needed for her new place,” Rentschler said.
Gathering a group of friends to help, Rentschler created Blessed Beginnings. The nonprofit organization currently works with one church and two shelters to collect donations and deliver them to women who are ready to embark upon new lives.
“Our motivation is hearing from the shelter staff how our baskets truly make a difference to the women and families receiving them. They feel ready, prepared, and more importantly, that someone cares for them and is rooting for them in a sense. I hear often from staff members that no one is doing anything like this to help these women and that the clients staying there are now looking forward to their potential basket when they are ready to leave the shelter,” Rentschler said. “It makes our hearts full knowing that something small to us, like a laundry basket full of items, can mean something so huge to others. We hope to remind them that the Lord is always with them and uses people and moments in time to remind us that we are never alone.”
Blessed Beginnings is looking to grow and gain the capacity to help more women in need. The team is seeking donations from local churches and businesses and could use the support of the community. To learn more and/or donate, visit their website https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTE4NjY5 and follow along on Instagram @blessedbeginningsjr and Facebook @BlessedBeginnings311