Sara Jo’s Moment

Sara Jo is a single parent of two school-age girls. She had recently been divorced and was living with her mother, something she never thought she would do again, since moving out after high school. Although she appreciated her mother’s willingness to take her and the girls in, Sara Jo knew that she and her girls needed more space than what they had–and so did her mom. Tensions were starting to run high some evenings, as the girls and her mother struggled to adjust to the very different energies of each other. Sara Jo was working, though she did not have a car, so she was relying on rides from co-workers to get to work, which was also quickly wearing thin.

After searching for housing online and making some phone calls, Sara Jo had found a modest apartment that was on the bus line, but she was struggling to come up with both the first month’s rent and the damage deposit required for her to be able to move in. The landlord suggested that Sara Jo call Bridges of Hope to find out about area resources to assist her with these costs.

Sara Jo called Bridges of Hope and spoke with one of our staff, who assessed her situation to see what community resources she would qualify for. We connected her to Lutheran Social Service for assistance, since we could see from Sara Jo’s budget that she would be able to afford the rent and the rest of her ongoing monthly expenses once she was over this hurdle. Sara Jo saved up to pay for the damage deposit for the new place, and Lutheran Social Service was able to cover the cost of the first month’s rent. Bridges then was able to connect Sara Jo with Salem WEST for some much-needed furniture and other household items.

Sara Jo was able to move in to her new place with her girls, and a few weeks later, one of our staff called her to follow-up and make sure things were going okay. Sara Jo said how grateful she was for the assistance and support from Bridges of Hope, and she let us know that she was so happy with the furniture she had received from Salem WEST as well.

If you or someone you know is facing a difficult situation and not sure what to do next, call our office 218.825.7682 and speak with a Resource Specialist. Our staff can assist you in connecting with the area resources and programs that can help you resolve your situation. 



New Collaboration with Salem WEST Begins April 1

Salem WEST



You may have heard that Bridges of Hope is teaming up with Salem WEST to serve our clients better. As many of you know, Salem WEST is a ministry of Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, MN. They have been serving the community for nearly 20 years and have worked closely with Bridges of Hope for the past 11 years. Conversations have been taking place between their director Greg and myself for a couple of years now, and recently, those conversations culminated in a plan for action that will better serve our clients.

Effective April 1, 2013, Salem WEST will begin using a new intake and referral process. Clients wishing to access services from Salem WEST will now contact Bridges of Hope to complete an intake form that enables us to help them resolve the challenges they face.  Salem WEST will no longer directly accept requests & referrals, as they had in the past. The new process to request support is still very simple and convenient: those in need should contact Bridges directly at 218.825.7682 or toll-free at 888.750.7682.

Salem WEST is still extremely committed to their mission of accepting and distributing quality material goods for those in need. The only change is that Bridges of Hope will deliver the intake & screening process for Salem WEST. This will help ensure that clients are served in a well-rounded manner, with Bridges of Hope’s well-established multi-faceted approach to each situation. Someone may contact us for furniture, and through our intake process we may be able to identify other needs and direct the household to additional helpful resources.

If you work with clients who could benefit from the services of Salem WEST or Bridges of Hope, simply encourage them to call us at 218.825.7682 or 888.750.7682. As always, part of our referral process usually includes requesting a release of information to other agencies they are working with so we can talk with other professionals directly about the household’s situation. The better we can all communicate with each other, the better off the whole community will be. Please help us by spreading the word to your co-workers and your professional network.

To make a gift to support this important work, visit Bridges of Hope’s website and click “Donate Now” or mail a check to Bridges of Hope, PO Box 742, Brainerd, MN 56401. Your donation is 100% tax deductible and will help us change lives in the Lakes Area. Thank you for your partnership.