The setting quickly became standing-room-only Sunday afternoon, as Agape House hosted an open house event celebrating five years in the organization’s current location.

Executive Director Dave Hughes gave a brief overview of the charity, its work and plans for the future at 3 p.m., as more than 60 people learned of two new programs Agape House will begin soon.

After reciting history and receiving donations, Hughes detailed Agape House projects that will help homeless in the Hermiston area and those who need job skills training.

The executive director said the charity frequently talks about providing shelter or assistance to people who find themselves without a home or stranded in Hermiston, yet board members and employees of Agape House could never think of a solution.

In the past two weeks, Hughes said he spoke with a handful of people about the topic and now has what he thinks could be an answer.

Martha’s House, a multi-bedroom building that will house transients from evening until morning, is a proposed one-year pilot project, Hughes said.

He said a steering committee is forming, and Agape House is looking for members.

The other major project announcement involved a large swath of land and what Hughes hopes will become helping — and employable — hands.

He announced that Agape House is in the final stages of purchasing a piece of land that will come to host a few new buildings in the coming years.

The project, named DORR (Developing Opportunities through Reuse and Recycle), will use volunteer help and donated materials to help individuals develop trade skills and employable character traits.

Details are still in the works, but Hughes said the first warehouse housing the program will begin to rise sometime in 2011.

“I can’t believe it’s been five years in this building,” Hughes said of Agape House’s facility during his presentation, in which he spoke about the benefits of having increased space.

The same amount of volunteers can move and store about five times as many goods compared to the old building, Hughes said.

Representatives from Walmart’s store and distribution center presented Agape House with their $39,000 check to help food programs, and the Good Shepherd Foundation gave $7,500 for the charity’s backpack program, which sends dozens of weekend-amounts of food home with children from the greater-Hermiston area every week.

Hughes also announced a $12,000 donation from the Wildhorse Foundation, which the casino has provided for an additional storage facility.

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