Hydroponics with a soul purpose

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As lives are restored, communities are restored. This core belief is one around which Jeremiah Recovery House (JRH) operates. Originally founded in Eureka Springs, the program moved to Green Forest, but is hoping to add a house in Eureka Springs soon, and another in Berryville.

Beyond the important task of healing individual lives, the recovery program at Jeremiah House is designed to see women who have survived lives subjected to human trafficking, prostitution, addiction, childhood sexual abuse and homelessness find their way back into the community at large – and thrive.

This is where Jeremiah House excels. By mandating a two-year stay in a nurturing, transformative home environment with responsibilities, the program offers a change for freedom and healing and the time to create new habits and healthy relationships in a home environment.

The women may hold down part time jobs in the community after a 90-day residence and may work full time after that. But JRH’s dream has always been to be self-sustaining while giving back to the community that has supported them so graciously. Three years ago, Founder/Director Vickie Poulson brought the idea of a hydroponic greenhouse to the group and the response was enthusiastic.

Jeremiah House receives no government funds, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Money collecting began in earnest. Residents and volunteers held fundraisers including an Easter Egg Extravaganza, yard sales, and an annual Breaking Chains Poker Run. The women set up a sewing and craft room to make aprons, headbands, purses and jewelry to sell. Grants were awarded from Arvest Bank, Arkansas Gives, Arkansas Community Foundation and several churches, business and organizations from around Carroll County over the past three years.

And, thanks to all this effort, Arvest presented the last grant check in front of a newly delivered hydroponic greenhouse.

Two-year resident, Clarissa Vennerbeck, commented joyfully, “This is our ‘next big thing.’ We’ll be growing lettuce the first year and over time expand to provide other produce to schools, for instance. It’s our way to be self-sustaining while giving back to the community that has supported us. When I came to Jeremiah Recovery House, I felt I had no hope. I was in complete darkness. Today, I am not only healing and finding peace but also giving back to the community and becoming a functional member of society!”

The greenhouse is up, and one dream is realized. But there are others who need the help and healing the program offers. And the bills continue. “We depleted our funds in the purchase and construction of the hydroponic greenhouse and need funds for supplies to begin growing our produce,” Director Poulson commented. “We also have the opportunity for a Jeremiah Recovery House in Eureka Springs where women and their children could live. We need to be able to employ staff members so that the residents are getting the services and assistance needed to rebuild their lives.”

The next local fundraiser will be a Day of Thankful Hearts on Nov. 16 at First Christian Church with afternoon workshops by John Two-Hawks and his wife, Peggy Hill, a supper, and an evening concert with Two-Hawks and the Celebration Choir with special guests. See details soon at johntwohawks.com and more about Jeremiah House and ways to help at jeremiahhouse2911.org or Jeremiah Recovery House on Facebook.

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