Hospitality: funded by community

Published 9:22 am Monday, September 10, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Hospitality House Ministry serves as a home away from home for loved ones of incarcerated individuals.
Carolyn Morris, founder and director of the Hospitality House, discovered the need for having a place for visitors of inmates at the local prisons to stay while they are in town. By 1996, Morris had increased awareness of this need among Atmore residents. A board of directors was established and the Hospitality House Ministry was created and food, transportation and lodging needs were met for those who needed it.
In 2002, the Hospitality House located at 1106 E. Church St. opened. It is an actual home that can house many guests at a time and Morris feels it shines positive light on Atmore.
"When other people are looking at Atmore and see so many caring ministries, such as the YMCA, YoungLife, We Care and Sav A Life and even United Fund, it looks good for the community," Morris said. "When they see so many people working without time and pay to help so many other people, it's an asset to the community. When people come here they go back giving the town a good name."
Morris said everything that went into the house, such as furniture, dishes, lamps, etc., was furnished by community members.
"The whole house has been funded by the community," she said. "We just want to give back to the community basically by meeting the needs of other people that can hardly help themselves."
The Hospitality House has served 596 guests from all across the United States and even places such as Holland, France, The Netherlands, Canada and LaReunion Island.
Morris said the most fragile time at the Hospitality House is when a guest is visiting an inmate on death row.
"A major thing is that we have the death row," she said. "When someone is executed, they allow the families to come up to five days beforehand. We allow them to stay a couple of days after for grieving."
The Hospitality House is funded through donations, Morris said.
"Most monies come through donations, the community, churches and foundations," she said. "United Fund helps us because we are not under government funding."
The Hospitality House has a mission statement. The mission statement states that the ministry will:
"Our plan, purpose and vision is the reconciliation of husband to wife, parent to child, sister to brother, offender to community," the mission statement states.
Current board members include, Morris, Joyce Bolden, Silverzee Brown, Linda Bumann, Patty Helton Davis, Letitia Digmon and Eldred Pritchett.

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