Even though she was homeless and struggling with an addiction relapse, Shannon Pardue wasn’t eager to seek help from Stand at the Crossroads Ministries.
Strangers had to tell her more than once that the nonprofit’s campus in Aiken was the right place for her before Pardue decided to listen to their advice.
It was something that changed her life for the better.
Pardue gives much of the credit to Stand at Crossroads’ founder and executive director, Debbie Lamb.
“Having one person who believed in me, took my hand and showed me the way made me believe in myself,” Pardue said. “I’m more self-confident, and my work ethic is stronger. I have the determination to go on and do better things.”
Pardue now is a Stand at the Crossroads employee, filling the position of store manager at the nonprofit’s Redeemed Treasures Boutique.
“It’s an upscale thrift store,” Lamb said. “We have antiques, clothing, household furnishings, decorations and furniture.”
Redeemed Treasures is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at 820 York Street.
“Our ladies work there until they find a job, sorting clothes and pricing things,” Lamb said. “It helps train them to be good employees.”
Stand at the Crossroads offers transitional housing for women in crisis and their children.
“The ladies are coming out of incarceration, homeless and out on the streets or going through a domestic situation such as divorce or abuse,” Lamb said. “We get them stabilized and help them find employment. They also take financial classes to learn about budgeting and how to save for their needs.”
The average stay for women without children is eight months. Women with kids can stay for up for two years.
“We started in 2000 with My Father’s House, ministering to single women,” Lamb said.
Eventually, Stand at the Crossroads added apartments for women with children, and last year, the construction of a duplex was completed.
Another project, adding a community room and a storage room onto the laundry room, was finished early this year.
An office and a playground also are located on the campus.
Lamb said the Stand at the Crossroads property has enough space to build three more duplexes. She also would like to renovate a building behind Redeemed Treasures and put in an upstairs apartment.
Currently, Stand at the Crossroads can accommodate seven single women in My Father’s House and five women with children in the duplex and apartments.
But the need is great for even more transitional housing.
“We get phone calls every week, and we have to turn away women, especially women with children, because we don’t have any room for them,” Lamb said. “A lot of time women with low incomes fall through the cracks. They’re working, but they’re not making enough to support their families. They might get food stamps, but then they get a job and their food stamps are cut. And childcare is very expensive. For women who have any kind of criminal record, it’s even harder.”
For more information about Stand at the Crossroads Ministries, call 803-502-0285 or visit crossroadsaiken.com.