WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The rain didn’t deter the spirits of those participating in the ‘Walk for Hope’ on Sunday. The walk was hosted by Ruth’s Place, a program belonging to the nonprofit ‘Volunteers of America’. Ruth’s Place is the only emergency 24/7 homeless shelter in Luzerne County exclusively for single women.
“We provide support for them in a different way because we’re open 24/7. We’re always somewhere they can turn. Even when they’re not experiencing homelessness, when they just need support,” Crystal Kotlowski, the program coordinator of Ruth’s Place, said.
The shelter serves about 300 women per year. They are taught new educational and life skills that they can use to prevent homelessness again. Sunday’s one mile ‘Walk for Hope’ is the shelter’s primary fundraiser. It began on River Street and continued past many agencies and places people experiencing homelessness would use on a daily basis.
“Basically it’s to walk in the shoes of someone facing homelessness and see you know what is that trek they have to make on a regular basis,” Kotlowski said.
The event also included a resource fair, a bake sale, music and food. Barbara Murphy recently left the shelter. She says when she finished rehab, she needed help and turned to Ruth’s Place.
“It was an amazing experience. The women, the sisterhood, even the ladies that we work with. They’re really caring people. And everyone has an ear to listen and advice. And I’ve grown to love all of them,” Murphy said.
Susan Major left Ruth’s Place on April 9th. She became homeless in 2017, after her home was set on fire, killing her three kids. She became emotional as she shared her story with the crowd.
“I was devastated, I was in the lowest place of my life. Just devastated, felt defeated. But Ruth’s Place is a place of hope, of caring of family,” Major said.
“Ruth’s Place has definitely given us all a new journey. A new start,” Murphy said.