Staff members at Mary and Martha House helped more than 80 mother-children families rebuild their lives after homelessness and domestic violence.

For more than 35 years, Mary and Martha House, based in Ruskin, has been helping women and their children all over Hillsborough County get back on their feet after domestic violence and or homelessness. The group relies on assistance from the community to support its clients and is currently looking for help from volunteers and donors.

A private non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, Mary and Martha House provides individualized case management to help women in need identify personal barriers and overcome them. Last year the organization provided shelter and support to more than 80 mother and children families in their time of need.
“Every woman is different and we do more than simply provide a roof over their heads,” said Executive Director Laurie Herring.

When women come to Mary and Martha House, they sit down with a case manager and within 24 hours start building a plan for the rest of their lives.

“Our goal is to empower them and give them the tools to help them make the best decisions they can,” said Herring. “We feel that education is everything and our program is loaded with ways to help them learn to function on their own.”

The three securely located shelters are designed to be as much like homes as possible, with each family housed in its own space.

“The Employment Readiness pro-gram helps clients determine what their skills and talents are and allows them to determine the best ways to use them to make a living,” said Herring, who explained that the group also coordinates continuing education for its clients.

Residents can then move on to the Retail 101 Program where they are offered hands-on experience at Mary and Martha House’s two retail locations, The Rose Boutique and The Thrift Shop, both of which are located in Ruskin.

“These women are completely bro-ken when they come in and every day they are taking steps to get to where they need to be,” said Herring.

For more information, call 645-7874 or visit Donations are also accepted through the website.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.