Jodi Hack and Kathy Smith spoke at the Renew event for Simonka Place on Friday, May 6 (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Union Gospel Mission’s Simonka Place held its “Renew” event on May 6 at the Keizer Community Center. Hundreds of women and a few men gathered to support  Simonka Place and learn about the Giving Circle that bears June Simonka’s name.

Simonka Place provides emergency shelter and meals to single women and mothers with children. It was named for the late couple, George and June Simonka. George served as the executive director of UGM for 35 years, retiring in 1989. A women’s mission opened in 1968 and was later renamed for the couple.

Jodi Hack, a UGM board member, welcomed everyone to Renew.  She and Kathy Smith, the Director of women’s ministries, helped explain how the organization has supported 800 homeless women and those in recovery.

Melissa “Melly” Edwards, a graduate of the residential New Life Fellowship program, shared her own story of addiction, recovery, and faith.

Finally, Patti Williamson and Raquel Moore-Green from the June Simonka Giving Circle’s advisory committee encouraged everyone to join them.  Moore-Green said that because she is blessed, she wanted to bless others. You can learn more about Simonka Place by visiting ugmsalem.org or calling 503-967-6388.

Melissa “Melly” Edwards, a new life fellowship program graduate, shared her own story of addiction recovery and faith. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

A picture of June Simonka was part of the event centerpiece. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Guests attend the Renew luncheon. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing regularly for Salem Reporter. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook.

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