New Hope for Families has Plans for Former Church

Updated: July 25, 2019 06:19 PM

There is a great need for foster care families in St. Louis County. And a new non-profit called New Hope for Families has organized, to help recruit more and support them.

But they know it can be difficult. So based on a system the two co-founders saw on missions trips to Mexico, they've come up with a plan.

Joe Fischer, co-founder, said, "We had this idea of a community of faith, to support foster care providers, to give them support financially, support spiritually, support with education, rides, or meals, whatever we can do for them."

One of the new foster parents in the area is Nicole Schaer. She and her husband have fostered six kids since May. "I would not be doing foster care if not for the New Hope for Families. It's a tough road to walk, and you need incredible support along the way."

She said if she has a question or an emergency, she can just text the group, and someone will offer a solution or help.

And soon, there will be a gathering space for foster care families like hers. New Hope now owns the former St. Anthony Church in Duluth. It used to be a school, then storage for medical records. According to Sister Danile Lynch, the diocese sold the building to St. Mary's Medical Center for $1.

When the Sisters heard about New Hope's mission, they were thrilled to make a deal to sell them the church. "It's a wonderful purpose. We love to say, we got a real profit on the building. 100% profit," she laughed. "We sold it for $2."

Therese Gruba, the other co-founder, said, "It was an amazing gift." They were originally looking for a home for a foster family. They found much more, while touring the building with the sisters.

Down in the basement, there's a mural that says, "Let the children come to me." Gruba took that as a sign. "Ok, maybe we need a center of operations for our non-profit. And it turns out, we did!"

There are plans to open a day care in the spot where there was one before. It will help pay the bills, so the group can focus on the families.

Some repair work is needed on the building. But they see the potential.

Gruba said they are looking for respite care providers, who can give foster parents a break, larger vans, rental assistance, and even clothing. Anyone can join their group.

Fischer added, "Our ultimate goal, is to provide God-loving homes for kids in St. Louis County going through a tough time in foster care."

There is a ribbon cutting coming up for the New Hope for Families Center in August. And there will be a fundraiser in November at the Northland Country Club, to raise money for the roof repairs.

If you want to help New Hope for Families, call 218-590-1785 or

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