Hope began for me when…

Anonymous Man

I came here a broken man who thought I just had one problem. After being here some months now I realize that I have way more than just a drug addiction. This place has given me hope again in my life that I know I lost a long time ago.

I thought that I was going to be an addict the rest of my life and probably would have ended up dying honestly. So, I’m extremely thankful for this program and for the first time in my life I want sobriety more than ever. So, each day that does by I’m just trying to better myself and learn more about myself every day.

I’ve learned that choices have consequences either good or bad. But it’s not about the consequences, it’s about how you react to it. So, in every situation we got to ask ourselves “What would Jesus do?” How would he react. The outcome won’t always be perfect but we put our big boy boots on and face anything that comes our way. The best thing about life is that we live and we learn. So, all I can do tomorrow is work on integrity a little bit harder then I did today.

This is what integrity means to me: Integrity means being honest with yourself and others all the time. It means always doing the right thing even when no one is there. It is also about respecting yourself as well as others at all times. Integrity also means that when there are rules to follow that they be followed no matter how small or big you think the rule is. So, to me I believe integrity has various meanings. What it boils down to is I came here to better myself in all areas not just my addiction problems.

For more about The Path, visit www.PathOfCitrus.org.



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Urgently Needed Items at The Path

Make The Path Rescue Mission a welcoming place. Please help us with urgently needed items like twin sheets, bath towels and wash cloths. Drop off Mon-Fri, 9-5pm at 21 S Melbourne St in Beverly Hills.

Help men, women and children—individuals and families— at The Path’s Rescue Mission by collecting these needed items:

  • Wash cloths
  • Sheets1Bath towels
  • Bed sheets- Twin sz
  • Bed sheets- Queen sz
  • Pillow cases
  • Household cleaning items (bleach, etc)




For more information or to find out about needs that may not be listed here, contact The Path at 352-527-6500, ext. 9!Needs Photo

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Rebuilding Lives One at a Time

Mother and Son

Lakia’s story represents a special example of how our community can come together to rebuild lives, especially for women with few options. Where do young pregnant, single mothers in desperate need of help turn when crisis strikes?

Lakia (not her real name) and her infant son had left her home town to stay with other family members. Led to believe she’d be welcome, Lakia quickly learned the promises of schooling and child care were as empty as the refrigerator…

Fortunately, she and her son found The Path. Once here, Lakia was showered with love from the other women in The Path’s house for women. Her son received plenty of attention from mothers who missed their own absent children.

Lakia and her Case Manager agreed that she would travel by bus, made possible through funds donated by a local charitable organization, to a destination with a large group of friends and family—her strongest support system. While waiting for the departure date, her case manager worked on strengthening her for the next steps in her life.

She was counseled in parenting skills and techniques. Lakia was provided clothing, much-needed baby supplies, and encouraged in her self-worth as a woman in spite of past mistakes. Often she exclaimed how safe and loved she felt. On her departure day, Lakia and a senior staff member prayed for a safe journey—a prayer she led, perhaps for the first time.

The bus driver, a compassionate Christian and answer to her prayers, allowed her extra luggage on board! Together as a community we make a difference by showing love to strangers in significant ways. We pray to help more single mothers in similar situations.

The Path has completed renovations for the former Beverly Hills Motel complex to continue the vision established by The Path in 2001. The complex is ideally suited as a “Family Rescue Mission” to shelter more single parents with their children or families together.

The complex also allows for expansion of successful case-managed programs that improve health, life skills for the whole family, and provides time for addiction recovery, job training and successful transition to the community.

Learn more on how you can get involved! Book a tour or schedule a speaker by email at pathccrescue@gmail.com or call The Path at 352-527-6500 ext. 9.  A local 501(c)3 for over a decade, The Path is currently 100% privately-funded.


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Making Miracles for Families

Diane CsMgr (1)Miracles for struggling families and individuals come in unexpected ways when you encounter people who come to The Path in need of help and hope.

“Everyone has a family member or knows of someone who has struggled with the issues our clients do,” explains Diane Wilbur, women’s case manager at The Path. Wilbur knows this better than many people, as one of her own family members was helped by The Path several years ago.

Today, he’s a husband, the father of three sons, and a youth group minister.

Diane witnesses the same transformation in the lives of the women she works with at The Path. Her greatest and most rewarding challenge is working with mothers, as most have limited parenting skills, poor employment prospects and a lack of stability in their lives, putting their children at a serious disadvantage.

All women at The Path participate in Bible study and a biblical 12-step program, counseling sessions, and classes in nutrition, parenting, employment and budgeting. Wilbur then works with them one-on-one in the thrift shop for work therapy to develop their skills.

“Women arrive here broken in spirit, expressing fear of the unknown and hopelessness. Often, there is little or no family support and they realize this is due to a chaotic life style and poor choices,” Wilbur said. “Women seek a safe, structured, loving environment for themselves and their children. They confess that The Path is their last option.”

According to Path leaders, for several years three out of four calls for shelter had to be turned away due to lack of resources, space, or programs to meet the specific needs of single parents with children and families.  Most calls were from women with children.

Executive Director DuWayne Sipper is currently working on the public phase of a $1.85 million capital campaign to raise the final $500,000 by June 2018 for renovating the former Beverly Hills Motel complex, which The Path purchased in August 2017. The complex is ideally suited as a “Family Rescue Mission” to shelter single parents with their children or intact families together.

The complex also allows for expansion of successful case-managed programs that improve health, life skills for the whole family, and provides time for addiction recovery, job training and successful transition to the community.

Public outreach during the campaign includes tours of the motel complex, a speaker’s bureau, and opportunities to give financially or volunteer.  Watch for campaign updates on Facebook and at PathofCitrus.org. Learn more by booking a tour or a speaker by email at path.frm@gmail.com or call The Path at 352-527-6500 ext. 9.  A local 501(c)3 for over a decade, The Path is currently 100% privately-funded.




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Stories of Hope from Men and Women at The Path: Mike


Mike is working towards a brand new life.

Men and women in The Path’s work program develop a strong work ethic and skills that help them to re-enter the job market and build independent, productive lives. Mike, one of the men at The Path puts it plainly:  “The Path was one of the few places I could go to that would let me get a job. I like to work. I don’t want to just sit in classes, I want to make a difference.” I’m sure that’s important to you, too!

Twenty years of methamphetamine addiction marked a “slow decline” in Mike’s life, but it never dampened his desire to work. He was making a living remodeling homes, but when his truck and tools were stolen, so were his livelihood…and his hope.

“I became homeless,” Mike recalls. “I couldn’t believe that I had come to this point. I had always been able to hold thingstogether. I had always worked. I think God humbled me and brought me to The Path.”

Since coming to The Path, Mike admits that he’s thinking more clearly because he has overcome his drug addiction and renewed  his trust in the Lord. “I started using drugs 20 years ago when my firstborn passed away. My wife and I used to go to church, but it slowly fell apart,” he remembers. “Today I have Jesus back in my life.”

Mike also has his two surviving sons, now 19, back in his life. “I’m reconnecting with them,” he says. “I’m able to talk to them soberly instead of being numb.”

Attending church and participating in Bible study at The Path made a profound impact on Mike’s recovery.

But there’s another important factor that keeps him focused on his future:  what Mike has been doing through his work at The Path’s bargain stores. He rides in the truck with Kenny McNeil, our store truck driver.

Mike hopes to soon reestablish his career in working with tile and stone. In the meantime, he enjoys the connections he’s able to make with donors like you through our bargain store, picking up donated furniture and dropping it off at the store. “Personally, I’m just thankful!”

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.” – Psalm 90:17

Your gift today will bring life-saving relief from the heat and from homelessness for men like Mike. God bless you & enjoy a safe summer!

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Your gifts have immediate impact to help The Path provide food, clothing, safe shelter and recovery programs that rebuild health, a strong work ethic & strengthen families for men, women and children without a home. 


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Help with Summer Scrub Up Needs

Scrub Up picHelp The Path scrub up the rescue mission buildings by collecting these urgently needed cleaning supplies as a summer activity for your family or youth group:

  • Trash bags- 13 gal. or larger
  • Dish cleaning liquid
  • Pine Sol
  • Bleach
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels

Life can get messy… Help us clean it up!



Baby on board! We need infant diapers and sensitive skin baby wipes.



Clean up picHelp men and women at The Path look and feel their best by collecting these urgently needed personal hygiene items:

  • Razors for shaving
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Shampoo & Hair Conditioner
  • Scent-free Body Lotion
  • Antiperspirant/ Deodorant
  • Baby Powder
  • Feminine products (no tampons, please!)

Help us look our best all day, every day!

Drop the collected items off at our office located at 21 S Melbourne St in Beverly Hills or call us to arrange a pickup!

Donate Button1Note SCRUB UP ITEMS in the comments

 For more information or to find out about needs that may not be listed here, contact The Path at 352-527-6500, ext. 9

like_4-30aFollow The Path on Facebook to find out more about these & other needs… Share with your friends!
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Consider Volunteering

The Path currently has several urgent volunteer needs in our life skills programs. Prayerfully consider any one of the following, or tell a friend. Computer Basics instructor, Christian 12-step for women co leader, Eating Healthy Coach to rotate with current coach, Parenting Class coach to rotate with current team of two coaches, and women to help watch children while mothers are in Path classes (paid position).

For more details and schedules, contact The Path’s volunteer line at 352-527-6500 extension 9.

Many volunteers will tell you that they start out by wanting to serve others. What they find out is that in serving, THEY become the ones who are blessed. Giving “one day” of volunteering can change lives in ways you would never imagine. One day equals only two hours a month for twelve months!


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Fresh Food, Locally Grown: The Path Farm

If you are interested in fresh food grown locally without pesticides, then The Path farm co op is a program worth learning more about. The Path grows seasonal vegetables without pesticides on 15 acres of land loaned by a local church, Hernando-Church of the Nazarene. For nearly a decade, the farm has touched our entire community.

Don’t miss out on fresh, pesticides-free kale, lettuces, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage,  bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower & much more! Call 352-527-6500 x8 to find out about payment plans & how to enroll.

co-op-photoThe Path’s farm provides vegetables, physical exercise and a work program for the men and women at The Path, who participate in all farm and co-op distribution activities. The farm improves recovery with physical exercise, healthy food to combat malnutrition, and better life-skills.  Path clients learn to grow healthy food and then how to
prepare it through The Path’s onsite “Healthy Eating” classes.

The Path Farm Co-op was started during 2010 in response to public demand for fresh vegetables grown without using inorganic chemicals and pesticides. Pickups are weekly on Saturdays, 11:30am-4:30 pm, at The Hernando Farmer’s Market produce stand on Hwy. 41 (just south of Chicken King).

One Co-op member, Diane Kahler from Dunnellon, shares her experience:  I like the idea of getting veggies that don’t have any sprays on them. Yes, there may be a few leaves that the bugs have enjoyed and I’m okay with that. The Path veggies and the farm is a win/win. It teaches folks how to work, how to enjoy seeing the “fruit of the labor”, teaches them how good real, fresh veggies can taste and the memberships give money to the organization for not only the farm but for other projects. Another good thing is that I’m also learning about trying veggies that we didn’t eat in New Jersey. Collards? Never ate them before I got them from The Path…and now I love them. I have my cook books out looking for ways to use the veggies. And eating a lot of veggies is also good for my diabetic husband.”

Weather conditions have a lot to do with the varieties that grow during a season, when each vegetable is ready for harvest, the quantity and how long a particular vegetable is available, and how much food is harvested weekly. Vegetables will vary in size and appearance during the season, looking and tasting similar to those you would grow in your own home garden. The varieties grown at The Path Farm are chosen for flavor and ability to produce well in this climate, and are not expected to look perfect.

Our farmer aims to give you as much quantity and variety available at each weekly harvest and may supplement from time to time– we’ll do our best to inform you.

A variety of membership options and payment plans are now available. Call 352-527-6500 x8 to sign up today. Your participation in The Path Farm Co-op plants seeds of hope to feed the hungry and build a healthier community.


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Helping Those Who Cannot Help Themselves

I was reminded of the encounter of Jesus with a Samaritan woman at a well outside the city during the hottest part of the day. She went there at an inconvenient time and place possibly to avoid being subjected to scorn over her lifestyle from the other women who met at the well in the city. The wife of five previous husbands, this woman was currently living with a man she was not married to (see John 4:1-26).mom and baby

How in the world will she ever find the way to a right relationship with God in the place and lifestyle she was in?  What hope was there for her? So Jesus went to her Himself and presented the truth, about her and about Him.  And truth changed her and set her free.  She had found living water and would never thirst again…

Remembering all those promises and prayers to God for direction, I find myself today in Citrus County, Florida, working full time with a gospel rescue mission called The Path.  To put it more simply, working for a faith-based homeless shelter that provides a structured living environment and a variety of programs that address spiritual, physical and emotional needs of homeless men and women who want to change their lives, become employed so they can support themselves and family, and maintain a stable, permanent place to live.  And, break the cycles that keep them from doing so.  In the broader context, The Path helps people change from being takers in a community to contributors in a positive, productive and healthy way.

What I have discovered is that it’s not just the homeless who are finding healing and purpose through The Path:  our supporters and staff do as well.  We find deep healing, peace, and fulfillment in giving to help someone else—whether it’s giving time or talents, material goods or money. There is a great blessing in giving, and being able to see the direct impact of those gifts.  I see it every day in the faces of the transformed men and women who make it to The Path and work hard to begin to rebuild their lives.  The word
“success” takes on a brand new, and very specific meaning for each of them.

I wonder some days if we really can make a difference.  From their point of view, we do.  No one can say they aren’t shown how to make a better life for themselves.  No one can say they haven’t heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and can know Him personally.  At The Path, they do live a different life from the lifestyle that brought them there.  But we still have to turn many away for lack of space.  True, some don’t want to make the commitments required to change. But others do.

Most are desperate and full of despair.  So many are women with children, no one to turn to, no place to go.  Like Sara and Veronica.  I met both of them, and the most striking things are the haunted look in their eyes and the maturity in their children.  The concern they show for their mother.  The fear and shyness around strangers, particularly men.  I cry every time I remember seeing those things.

This is Sara’s story, as written by my husband, DuWayne Sipper, Executive Director of The Path:

Sara called me one afternoon, and after thousands of phone calls, you naturally begin to pick up tones and words.  I know what the phone call is about in just a couple of seconds.

“Hi, I was given this number and they said you might be able to help me? I have two children, and I am eight months pregnant, and I have to leave this place.”

“How old are the children and what are their sexes?” I asked, knowing full well that The Path cannot take boys with their mother if they are over puberty.  The present conditions are too close and the risk is too high for other mothers staying in the shelter.  Without the money to expand the shelter, we have chosen this route to help as many as we can and the category of women with small children is the highest.

“The girl is 2 and the boy is 7,” she said, and her voice begins to quiver as they often do when the full realization of the situation they are in begins to sink in.

“Where is the father of your unborn child?” I usually ask this question to see if there are possibilities of working with the father of the children in finding a home.

“He’s gone.  I don’t know where he is.” Now with the sound of tears in her voice.

The unbelievable burden and saga that a young mother goes through in her hopes of finding love and security through a man with good values continues as it has through the ages… In most of the cases we deal with, the father has now changed his mind about helping to feed, support and raise his children.  The reasons are varied and really don’t matter.  It is a severe erosion of commitment and understanding of a man wanting sex who does not think about the consequences until too late.   In this case, the father of the first two was different from the current pregnancy.  This, too, is a common occurrence in America:  young women trying desperately to find someone who will help her take care of her babies.

“Do you have family?” I said.

“I have a mother in New York.”  Her voice is slow and blank, as she tries to think while speaking.

“Will she take you back?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” she said, “I have done some bad things…”

DuWayne’s article ends here with a “to be continued” but I know the ending:  Sara was one of the fortunate ones.  After some phone calls, we were able to help mother and daughter reconcile.  A few more phone calls, and we had donors lined up to put together the bus fare for Sara and her children to travel to upstate New York.  Path staff helped Sara put together food for the trip. Donated suitcases, clothes, jackets and sweaters, socks and sneakers were gathered up quickly to equip this little family for their two-day bus trip.  Through hugs and tears, Sara was sent off to stay with her mom and have her baby with family. DuWayne and I prayed with her before she left us. We knew she was nervous and scared…

Veronica’s story was very similar, but I don’t know the ending.  You see, we had to send Veronica away from The Path because we didn’t have any room for her when she needed our help.  I’ve never forgotten her.  I pray for her almost every day…

I was filling in at The Path office, covering for vacations, when there was a knock on the door.  A young woman, in her early thirties walked in with a young boy, who was almost hiding behind her, like he wanted to be invisible.  We rarely get walk-ins, so I knew something dramatic—or traumatic—had taken place to bring her to The Path like this.  After speaking to her in calm tones, reassuring her and making sure no one was hurt, I began to ask gently what her situation was.  It goes something like this:

“Veronica, tell me what happened to bring you here.  Most call in first.”

“I had nowhere to go, and the police had to come to the house I was at because my fiance’s parents started yelling and throwing things and threw me out.  The police told me to come here, that you could help me, and the neighbors let me borrow their car.”

“How did you come to be living with your fiance’s parents?”

“I was living in  St. Pete and lost my job as a book-keeper.  I’ve been doing that for about 10 years.  I met my fiancé at my apartment complex and we had been living together. When I lost my job, we couldn’t afford to stay there and came here.”  Looking down, she said quietly, “I’m pregnant.”

I wondered to myself if that’s what caused all the fighting and arguing, but there was one thought that interrupted all that:  where was the fiancé?  Since he wasn’t with her now, I suspected that he wasn’t all that concerned, or committed to any relationship, and wondered if she was calling him “fiancé” to fool herself or to save herself the embarrassment with us.

Instead, I spoke to the little boy and greeted him.  He shrunk back and wouldn’t speak.  So, I got some crayons and paper to occupy him.  And turned to Veronica.  “You haven’t eaten anything today, have you?”  Tears in her eyes, she shook her head no.  “You are probably not feeling too well either, are you?”  Again shook her head no.  I said as gently as I could, “Your fiancé just watched while his parents screamed at you and threw you out?” Looking at the ground, barely whispering, tears streaming now down her face:  “Yes…”

I got her some tissues, some water and gave her half my sandwich and the other half to her son.  I called out to one of the women staying at the shelter and asked her to get some food together for them.  While that was all being taken care of, I continued with my questions. I was struggling with the reality of the situation:  we had no room at The Path shelter for her.  The Path was full.  How was I going to tell this desperate pregnant woman and her child that she couldn’t stay? There had to be someone who would be willing and able to help her… Somebody out there must care about her…

“Veronica, what about your family?”  She responded, “Well, I don’t know exactly where they are.  My mother was in Georgia.”  Anticipating my next question, she said “but I haven’t spoken to her in over ten years and I’m not sure where she is exactly.  I HAVE NO ONE TO GO TO!” I knew enough by now to not ask about her father—she may not know who her father is, much less where he was.  I calmed her as best as I could, just as DuWayne arrived.

Quickly assessing the situation, he told her that we had no room for her and her son presently and told her what the other shelter options were.  The only other shelter in Citrus County that took women was full. We had no other choice but to call the shelter in Brooksville—about 30 or so miles away.  Miraculously this shelter had room and agreed to take them. The neighbor agreed to drive them there.

DuWayne and I prayed with her.  We had to send her away.  I never saw or heard from Veronica again.  To this day I wonder if she’s all right, if she found a job and a decent place to stay, if her boy and her unborn child are safe and ok.  I made promises to God that day, too:  that I would pray for her every day, that I would tell her story to everyone who would listen, and that I would dedicate my life to rescuing others in similar situations.

Veronica, I’ll never forget you.  I hope you are ok.  I pray every day that you, your son, and your child are safe.  I’m so, so sorry we couldn’t help you, Veronica…

But I know God can…

Kathryn Sipper


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Fresh Food Grown Locally Benefits Everyone

IMG_0509It has been over 10 years now since I first heard the whisper to grow food. No, it was not a field of dreams whisper where I heard, ‘build it and they will come.’ It was simple: grow food. I would hear this when I woke up probably once every two weeks. I am sure I did what most of you would have done. I am imagining it or it is just random thoughts going through my head.

No, it was consistent and it would not stop. This went on for months!

At this time, I was living in the shelter and I had dietary problems of my own– but what was more important was to actually live with people and watch them struggle with their diets. When the shelter first started, none of us had a lot of money and I found out first hand that I, just as the shelter clients, ate terribly on a low income. Whatever was cheap, tastes good and was filling, definitely did not always make you feel good. There were many, many days where I struggled. My normal quiet calm demeanor was anything buy quiet and calm with emotional swings that I think were from food. By this time, I had already experienced a severe bi-polar person checking in to the shelter and they were not so bi-polar after changing some life habits and their food.

A man showed up one day with a friend of mine, Doug Lobel (this man may have been at one time on my board but I don’t think he was at this time), and the volunteer drove me crazy because he did not want to do anything I had for a volunteer! He was just about to walk away when he said he had been raised on a farm. Within one week, he had our back yard torn up and a vegetable garden planted.

Two years later, the Hernando Church of the Nazarene let us use ten acres and we were in the farming business. Since then we have planned to make food sustainable for our clients and county. It has been a tough road.

Farming is hard work but the payoff is worth it. Our clients can have all the food grown at the farm that they want. Often, our clients having worked at the farm for a couple months are ready to work almost anywhere. The farm has turned out to make our program well rounded for everyone.

For the last two years, we have had the best food all twelve months of the year without using pesticides, money can buy. We have a farm cooperative to help us sell our vegetables to the public which, in turn, helps us keep the farm program alive. Last year, we lost $30,000 on this program. I need your help. I believe in this program with all of my heart.

If you want this food, I encourage you to give us a call at 352-527-6500 x8.

DuWayne Sipper, Executive Director- The Path

September 2015

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