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Home Start Hope: Bringing Hope to Women One Table at a Time

According to the U.S Census Bureau, nearly half of all children in Rochester live in poverty. This staggering number is the second highest in the nation among mid-to-large cities, and emergency shelters are bursting as homelessness continues to rise in Monroe County. 

While there are many reasons a family may end up in this situation, domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among women. Emergency shelters throughout the area provide temporary housing, assistance, and support, but women who leave those facilities often lack the items necessary to move into their own homes. 


That’s where Home Start Hope comes in. Since its inception in 2010, the organization gives women the essentials they need through a personal shopping experience. The women referred to Home Start Hope shop in the Rochester store, selecting everything they need to start over in their new home, including essentials such as towels, bedding, pots and pans, dishes, baking supplies, laundry baskets, shower curtains, and much more, all for free. 



While picking out home essentials may seem simple, for women starting over, it’s so much more than that. The entire process is designed to empower women by giving them a sense of ownership while restoring confidence, giving them and their children hope for a brighter future. It has a transformative effect on families starting anew and helps build a community where more women can thrive. 


President and CEO Kristin Mathis says, “Our story begins with the women. They are from different backgrounds, all different ages and races, but all of them have dealt with some pretty traumatic experiences. We believe women deserve the chance to rebuild their lives regardless of how they got to where they are. We lead without judgement to provide the support they so desperately need.” 



This year alone, Home Start Hope has helped more than 160 women and over 300 children get the support they need to live on their own. 


In 2023, they launched a new program called Hope Furnished to provide new and gently used furnishings to the community of women and children they help. This new program serves as an extension of the services they provide to give basic home furnishings and household supplies to women in need. Core to its mission, the new program helps further fill the need of basics that women don’t typically have when getting back on their feet, such as beds to sleep in, dressers to store clothes in, tables and chairs to share a meal around, or sofas to sit with their families on. These and other items help make a house a home and create a personalized experience for each of the families the organization works with. 


To get involved with Home Start Hope, whether volunteering to shop with the women, participating in Tablescapes, or donating money or furniture, your contribution goes a long way! Your donation ensures Home Start Hope can continue to provide this life-changing experience for more women and children. Contact Kristin Mathis to help at mathis@homestarthope.org or call 585-506-5003!




3rd Annual Tablescapes Event

Sunday, May 5, 2024 • Oak Hill Country Club

To learn more, design a table or attend the event, visit homestarthope.org.


This year, Home Start Hope will host its 3rd Annual Tablescapes event, bringing members of the community together with interior designers, florists, event planners, and boutique shop owners to raise money for Home Start Hope. Event proceeds purchase household items given to families and to stock the store, as well as to move the gently used furniture. This year’s event will be held in May at Oak Hill Country Club, where attendees will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks while admiring the beautifully designed tables. This year will also feature a VIP reception that includes breakfast and mimosas, as well as a preview of the tables.



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