Building a 'safe haven' in the south side

By Anna Yee

July 8, 2012 Updated Jul 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- This isn't your typical Peoria house at 2524 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

It's a newly opened women's Christian home called One Body One Purpose Ministry.

"One body one purpose is one body of Christ," said Sharon Collins, "and one purpose is just to give them Jesus."

Sharon Collins has been a community outreach minister for nearly 20 years.

She says opening this home stems from her own experience as someone who needed a safe place to turn to.

"I come away from a drug addiction," said Collins. "I didn't know there was a way out of this lifestyle, but once I found Christ, my major concern was for me to get myself together. It became a mission for me to let people know there is a way out and that they don't have to live like that."

According to police, each year in Peoria, there are nearly 2,000 reported domestic violence victims.

Collins says through daily devotion and proper networking, the home will be a stepping stone for the downtrodden and abused.

Tenants don't have to pay rent. All house payments come from her own pocket, along with any donations.

Speaking of, Collins says the place still needs work.

She's looking for donated furniture, appliances and landscaping services to help fully transform this house into a home, one that she says will change lives.

"If they want Christ," said Collins, "Christ can change all, because here I stand. That was me."

Collins says she is starting two other Christian homes in the Peoria, one on Gift and one on Northwest Madison.

Both homes need remodeling and furnishing.

There will also be a fundraiser, dinner and enterainment, on the Spirit of Peoria August 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

If you're interested in donating your time or services, or for more information call Sharon Collins at (309) 966-4757 or (309) 242-9785.

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