A former Archbold resident, who asked not to be identified, was back in town, looking through the home where she once lived.
She was trying to decide whether to sell the house at 404 Union St., or rent it again.
While the home had been cleaned by a professional service, she found three pennies on the floor. She noted the words, “In God We Trust,” stamped into the coins.
That was the point she decided to donate the house to a group she had read about– JJ SafeHouse.
Founded in 2015, the group provides emergency shelter to domestic violence victims in Fulton County.
The group had been planning a long-term rehabilitation center where two or three mothers– victims of domestic violence– and their children could get counseling, job training, and legal services.
The group had been looking for a house for its first rehab center when the donation offer was made.
The formal closing on the home, turning it over to JJ SafeHouse, was on Friday, July 28.
Jennifer Panczyszyn, founder of the organization, said everyone involved with the group’s board of directors feels, “It’s amazing. Everybody is ecstatic” over the house donation.
“We couldn’t have asked for better timing. Lots of things are falling into place. Lots of people are coming forward asking how they can help,” she said.
Plans are to remodel the home to fit the needs of a rehabilitation center. Panczyszyn said by November, the house should be ready to be shown to donors, and in December begin accepting clients.
The facility will be staffed 24 hours/day, seven days/ week.
“We have potential staff coming forward that we are talking to, but we have not officially hired anyone,” she said.
The JJ SafeHouse bank account “looks very healthy. We start our capital campaign Aug. 16.
“We have all our ducks in a row. We have hired Shannon Loar (a Fulton County resident), who will handle the entire campaign.”
The capital campaign will be targeted to corporate entities.
But Panczyszyn said JJ SafeHouse won’t be a stranger to the community.
“One of our biggest goals is, once our women are in our home, because this is a transitional home, we will have them very much involved in the community, attending the local churches, finding employment in the area, and have the kids enrolled in Archbold schools, working closely with the teacher and the principals,” she said.
“Our goal is to surround a community around these women and children to help them become independent.”
The women will eventually move out of the house, “but only when we feel they’re ready to stand on their own two feet. Our goal is nine to 12 months.”
Panczyszyn said her group has been getting “a little bit of pushback,” over making the location of the Archbold home public.
“We are going to make a statement on our website (jjsafehouse.com) about why we’ve chosen to do that, and we are responding to emails about why we’ve chosen to do that. It was a very well thought-out plan,” she said.
At the same time, “we will continue to put women in emergency shelters that we pay for.”
Those locations will remain secret.
“When you surround a (domestic violence) survivor with community, family, and help, perpetrators don’t come around,” she said.
“When you isolate someone, you open the door for more problems.”
Panczyszyn said JJ Safe- House has helped nine women and 18 children so far this year.
When the JJ SafeHouse board toured the Archbold home after the closing, seven more pennies turned up.
Those, group officials said, were there to wish them luck.