A stable place for so many area residents is undergoing some changes, but people in the Hermiston area need not fret — the Agape House just wants to celebrate.

Executive Director Dave Hughes has announced two grants and an open house event that will soon arrive at the charity’s headquarters at 500 Harper Road in Hermiston.

After five years in their current building, Hughes said it was time for some open house tours and refreshments for the community, so he scheduled an event for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5.

At 3 p.m., members will conduct a short program on the Agape House and share information about the last half decade.

Hughes said he will unveil a new project at the Agape House at that time, but the director remained tight-lipped about details.

“The board has laid some groundwork for helping people develop skills and become more self-sufficient,” he said.

Hughes invited everyone in the community to the December event, where he will fully reveal the Agape House’s new program, which he added will be a “big, big project.”

The grants that are soon to arrive at the charity are a $5,000 gift from the Juan Young Trust and $39,000 from the Walmart Foundation.

The Young Trust, established in the memory of the former president of Kienow’s Food Stores, will provide their gift to help fund the Agape House’s backpack program.

Hughes said that program, which found early help from Good Shepherd Health Care System and Altrusa International of Hermiston, has grown in recent years.

He said the Agape House sent out 100 backpacks through elementary schools in Echo, Hermiston, Stanfield and Umatilla two weeks ago.

Faith Presbyterian, Umatilla Baptist and Echo Methodist churches help distribute the packs to area schools, Hughes said.

The $39,000 gift from the Walmart Foundation will help fund the purchase, storage and transport of food at the Agape House — no small task for the charity giant.

“About 60 percent of our energy and resources are used in providing food,” Hughes said.

In a prepared statement, John Thacker, board chair said, “Walmart has been a great partner of Agape House through the years, and between its distribution center and store, we receive more than 2,000 pounds of food each week through Walmart’s Fresh Alliance Program.”

More information on the food programs or the five-year celebration is available by contacting Agape House at 541-567-8774.

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