A Story of Hope.
Hope Whitlock, an inspiration for A Place for Hope's call to service.
"Hopie", (friends and family !!), was indeed the motive the founder of A Place for Hope, Donna Berry, intuitively felt, leading her to drive into a community of which she knew nothing. Never been there...not a clue as to why she was there at all...except maybe for the dreams. So, how did this Human Resources professional wind up in a place filled with both the savage 'survivalist' status quo of abject poverty in the mindset of all who go here, and ask the questions one asks about the universal meaning to anything in a place that almost fell off the map? With her own elderly mother in tow, Donna drove to a location that she instinctively knew was part of her 'inner vision' which repeatedly told her to seek this place out...and to help the folk living there. She found herself at Hope Whitlock's door, took a leap of faith and knocked. The conversation went something like..."...hello, I know you don't know me, but my name is Donna, and I dreamed of this place"...to which was replied "...that wasn't a dream, honey...God gave you a vision..." They have been good friends ever since.
Whitlock was raised the daughter of Chester, SC sharecroppers. She tells
us that she worked in the cotton fields most of her life. That memory,
she states, is not a happy one.
Mrs. Whitlock is
the mother of seven. She and her husband moved from the cotton fields of
Richburg, SC to Rock Hill in 1963. Her four-room home was built by hand
from discarded building materials and by whatever means necessary by her
late husband. Decades later, ripped screens, broken glass, rusted
discarded appliances, and desperate poverty was the landscape. The
children see and learn...and try to survive. The residents sleep in
shifts because of the limited space in the home. Hope's house is the
heart of the Blackmon Road Community, where folks in need stop for a
bite to eat, or a drink of water from the tainted well on Archer Drive,
or a moment's rest. The door of her home on Blackmon Road is always
A Place for Hope's mission is one of helping people.
Below Photos: Jim Stratakos
Photo below Tom Aggeles 2003