Matching funds push Joseph’s Hammer closer to women’s prison chapel goal

Joseph's Hammer closer to fundraising goal

Chaplain Mark Cartwright (left) and Joseph’s Hammer directors Paige Lechler, Pam Stevenson, Helen Smith, and Davey Haberer mark the halfway point in an effort to raise $1 million to build a worship center at the Ellen Halbert women’s prison in Burnet. Thanks to an anonymous donor, the nonprofit has another $200,000 to meet in a matching pledge. For more information, go to josephshammer.org or follow Joseph’s Hammer on Facebook. Courtesy photo

A $1 million fundraising project to build a worship center adjacent to the Ellen Halbert Unit women’s prison in Burnet has reached the halfway mark. 

Joseph’s Hammer hopes to raise the additional $500,000 over the rest of the year with the help of a $200,000 matching fund. A $150,000 matching fund helped double the donations up to that amount for the first half of the project, which has certainly helped, considering the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to fundraising events. 

“God has continued to put the worship center on people’s hearts,” said Pam Stevenson, who chairs the nonprofit’s board of directors. “When we first started this project, we had the flood (October 2018), now we have COVID — all these hiccups along the way, but still money has come through private donations.” 

The Ellen Halbert Unit, which has been in Burnet for 25 years, is a six-month substance abuse treatment and in-prison therapeutic community for women. Joseph’s Hammer’s goal in building a worship center is to provide a place for classes that will help the women learn valuable skills needed for re-entrance into society. 

“The chaplaincy programs use about 200 volunteers from our community,” Stevenson said. “We go in and teach Bible studies and different programs, some faith-based, to help them reconcile with family members and to stay on track when they are released. We help give them the tools they need to succeed.” 

Currently, the prison has classrooms that seat about 26 people. More than 40 sign up for classes and have to be put on waiting lists.

“The chaplain doesn’t even have a place to hold a worship service,” Stevenson added. “We desperately need a chapel there. He uses a classroom sometimes, but they are too small.”

The worship center will be built on site adjacent to the prison, which is located at 800 Ellen Halbert Drive in Burnet.  

To donate to Joseph’s Hammer, visit the website at josephshammer.org or mail a check to Joseph’s Hammer, P.O. Box 7960, Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657. Follow Joseph’s Hammer on Facebook for updates. 

suzanne@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Matching funds push Joseph’s Hammer closer to women’s prison chapel goal

  1. I was privileged to go to the graduation of the women who went through the Bible study program. They are in desparate need of a better and bigger facility so these life changing classes and church services can accomodate more women who desire to attend. I challenge churches, businesses, and people to give to this fundraiser. Not only do the women benefit but our community does as well.

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