The folks at Myrtle Beach Christian Church are more than a little excited about two new projects.
Annie’s Place is a 24-unit residence for the over 55 crowd, and Amanda’s Place is a temporary residence for mothers in crisis and their children that will house up to eight people at a time.
Both Annie’s Place and Amanda’s Place are “carrying out the dream” of Joel Wilson, the church’s founder, who is now deceased, Pastor Dan Banks said.
Twenty-four two-bedroom, two-bathroom units to house people over 55, costing “pennies on the dollar compared to a typical assisted living facility,” will be built in phases in five buildings on some of Myrtle Beach Christian Church’s 22 unused, cleared acres, said Banks.
The units will also have full kitchens and full living rooms.
After three readings by Horry County Council, full approval was given to the project that will begin being built next year.
“We already have people in the church and in the community who want to be around a safe, Christian environment,” Banks said.
“Several people have said they’d like to be closer to the church where people can check on them and love on them and make sure they’re taken care of. That’s the whole purpose of it.”
Annie’s Place is named for Annie Dukes, one of the church’s first members back in 1982. Dukes was a schoolteacher Banks described as “a wonderful woman of faith who loved the Lord.”
Dukes went to a traditional assisted living facility where church members visited her regularly, but Banks said he wishes a facility like Annie’s Place had been available then.
The pastor said he’s seen too many elderly people neglected by their families after going to assisted living or a nursing home, and he wants the church to provide something better.
“This will be a ministry,” Banks has said, “to let people know somebody loves them.”
Named in honor of Amanda Sessions, Amanda’s Place will provide safety and comfort for women, unwed mothers and children, with a focus on both spiritual and physical care.
In the past, the building was used to provide temporary housing for people in crisis situations, but now will be used to provide a safe place for those specific situations involving women and their children.
Sessions was an educator in Horry County for 40 years, serving as teacher, principal and special education director.
“Amanda cared for the least of these,” Banks said, referring to the Matt. 25:40 Scripture that quotes Jesus saying, “…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for Me.”
Banks said Sessions and her husband Wayne “loved people and were always helping them.”
Sessions’ daughter, Mandy Singleton, said, “Even though my parents were divorced, they both had the same passion for helping people and that’s why I became a counselor with the Horry County Schools.
“I still always have somebody living with me who doesn’t have someplace else to live because that’s how I was raised.”
Banks said, “The biggest reason we did this is the children. “We’ve had women show up with their kids and no place to go and that’s not right.”
The pastor said there is a “massive need” to provide for these women, and that there have already been inquiries from people in other parts of the state interested in Amanda’s Place.
Women and their children will be welcome for 30-90 days, until they can get back on their feet or hopefully, reach family that will help them re-connect.
Food, clothing, counseling, Bible studies, and encouragement classes building self-esteem will be included for the residents at the house, working to provide, Banks said, a better life than they’ve had.
“These women become a target when they’re out on the street and we want to get them out of the pits, and without Christ, life is the pits,” Banks said.
Residents will even be able to work in the church’s thrift store and earn some money.
To help, call the church at 843-236-1121 or email to christianchurchmb @gmail.com.