Martha’s House of Hope Providing Shelter, Life Skills to Expecting Mothers in Ames

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AMES, Iowa — Finding out you’re pregnant can be overwhelming, especially if the expecting mother doesn’t have the support or help she needs. A new nonprofit in Ames is helping to fill that void.

Martha’s House of Hope is a home for expecting mothers. It was founded by a group of Catholic women who say the mission is to provide shelter, teach life skills, and give hope to all mothers and their babies.

“There are shelters that accept expecting mothers but they don’t have the classes, the support system we believe, and the faith benefit,” Carol Nelson, Martha’s House of Hope co-founder said.

Nelson and some of her church friends volunteered their time with different programs in the central Iowa area, but found themselves frustrated with the limitations they faced.

“It’s hard when someone needs housing and you don’t have a house for someone to go to, or they need a mom. They need somebody to care and know they have someone who genuinely loves them,” Nelson said.

“A lot of them don’t have support. They might be homeless. They might be food insecure. They might not have the support of family and never have,” Executive Director Missy Sanow said.

So they created Martha’s House of Hope, a place for expecting mothers to live from pregnancy to their child’s first birthday.

“We want to make sure they are on their feet and the babies have a good start to their life,” Sanow said.

At Martha’s, the women take parenting, nutrition, and financing classes through Iowa State Extension and Outreach, while also working to secure permanent income and housing.

“Success for our women looks like living productively in the community, having a job, and raising their child on their own,” Sanow said.

And growing spiritually in the process.

“What we want to do is empower these women that they will be great moms, that they will know how to support their children and be able to sustain employment so that is not something they have to worry about,” Nelson said.

Obria, a women’s health clinic in Ames, said approximately three women a month would need Martha’s House of Hope services. They just welcomed their first resident less than a month ago.

Click here if you would like to donate to Martha’s House of Hope.

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