With the support of Austin Bank of Chicago (ABC Bank), the Tabitha House, a community shelter for homeless women and children, will now be able to continue to offer services throughout the Chicago area.

In order to keep its doors open, Tabitha House, which is located at 550 N. Pine in the Austin neighborhood, relies almost exclusively on private donations. However, in recent years these crucial resources have greatly tapered off, leaving the shelter in need of many items such as furniture and computers, as well as working capital.

“As Tabitha House’s bank for many years, we see firsthand all of the fantastic work and support it provides the community. But we also know that this independent shelter struggles and is always looking for new ways to generate dollars,” said Colette Loesher, the newly appointed president of ABC Bank.

Loesher is leading a campaign to build an executive board, the Tabitha House Foundation, from scratch and is currently interviewing business and community leaders to serve as charter members. The foundation will function as a means to raise funds, allowing Tabitha House to provide and enhance services for the women and children who rely on them to get their lives back on track.

ABC Bank also helped Tabitha House raise capital by hosting the West Side’s largest rummage sale at the bank’s parking lot, 5645 W. Lake St., June 25 and 26.

“Tabitha House provides a wide range of services from abuse counseling to providing beds for women and children who need a safe place to sleep,” said Sister Lula Walker, CEO of Tabitha Community Services. “With the generosity from groups like ABC Bank, we can build on and improve the services we can offer the community.”

“I was in the process of going through a difficult divorce after 22 years of marriage and was looking for a place to stay after living at a hotel with my two grandchildren for two months,” said Andrea Williams, once a recipient of the House’s services, now a part-time Case Manager. “Not only did the house provide me with moral support and access to daycare services during a difficult time in my life, but it also connected me with job placement services and helped me find an apartment. It is a truly remarkable shelter.”

Recently, the site of Williams’ apartment on 78th and Ridgeland was in the news for being the location of an alleged arson fire resulting in almost a half-dozen related injuries. Williams partially credits her women’s group, which meets every Thursday at Tabitha House with giving her the strength to rebuild her life for the second time in so many years.

“They were a tremendous support to me,” said Williams. “Mother Walker even offered to help me financially with the new apartment, and I’m in the process of putting this chapter of my life behind me.”

Tabitha House has offered shelter to women and children for more than 30 years. Since it opened, it has served many of the immediate needs of women and children who have been victims of domestic violence, homelessness or mental illness and provided several programs promoting self-reliance in a warm, safe and productive environment.

Clients confront issues, obtain spiritual guidance, as each house resident attends church services during the week, and learn new life skills, such as preparing for a job interview, through classes that enable them to successfully reintegrate into society. The staff within the house assures that each woman has the opportunity to provide for herself after she leaves. In addition, the women receive job training and the children are transported to and from school daily.

ABC Bank has provided financial services to consumers and businesses since 1891. The institution goal is delivering tailored lending and deposit products and services as well as educational programs to its customers. ABC Bank, which currently has $250 millions in assets, operates in five locations. For additional information, visit www.abcbank.net, or contact the Tabitha House at 773/261-1100.