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When The Mountaineer partnered with Haywood Pathways Center to challenge readers to match a $15,000 grant that would help open the new facility on campus to house homeless mothers and their children, we never doubted the match would be met.

We have a ringside seat to witness — and document — how Haywood residents continually step up to the plate when a pressing need is showcased. What we seriously under-calculated was the degree of generosity within this community, as well as the very compelling story unfolding at the Haywood Pathways Center.

The Mountaineer/Haywood Pathways Center Reader Challenge was not only met, but exceeded by 10 times! Overall, the challenge raised $150,440. In addition, another $20,000 or so was raised through a mail campaign the center conducted at the year’s end.

That is truly a feat all in this community can cheer on, whether they are a recipient of the generosity, someone who advocated for the center, a person who gave to their ability, either in case or through volunteerism, or the high-dollar donors who helped name one of the family suites and the entire facility.

An organization like Haywood Pathways Center is one that is transforming this community one life at a time. It is not a place where self-destructive behaviors are tolerated or the status quo is accepted. Those lucky enough to get a chance to rebuild their life must be ready for change and stay the course.

Those who can’t continually pass drug/alcohol tests or who don’t follow a life plan they have set for themselves, (with the help of a counselor) are politely told to move on so there will be a place for another person ready for the transformation. The shelter has the capacity to serve up to 30 men and 30 women in its dormitories. Soon, there will be spaces for 10 families to stay.

The organization is not only life-changing for the individuals at the center, but for the community as a whole that reaps the rewards from individuals moving from needing support to becoming self sufficient.

While a fund-raising campaign is essential to ensure large projects get off the ground, day-to-day support is equally as essential.

There are numerous opportunities to volunteer, whether in meal preparation, prayer, offering shuttle services or helping out with the children who will soon be on campus. The organization receives no dedicated government funding. Board members rely exclusively on the generosity of the community to help make the services possible.

For the past four years, Haywood residents have resoundingly showed their support for the Haywood Pathways Center. As the organization embarks on its next level of ministry, support will be even more crucial.

Haywood residents have proved their mettle in the four years since the shelter opened, and once again through the reader challenge.

We look forward to seeing you all at the new facility’s grand opening, and in the trenches as all work to make the next step in this journey a success.

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