By Mykah Briscoe | Reporter
The Sunshine Recovery House is raising money through a GoFundMe to replace the windows on its home, The Pink Lady, before winter sets in.
According to the Sunshine Recovery House’s website, it was created “to support the marginalized women of Central Texas who are recovering from addiction” and to provide them with a second chance.
“It’s not the Ritz Carlton, but there’s been a lot of women’s lives that have been impacted by this house,” Natasha Scheibe, house manager and former resident, said.
According to the website, there are only two transitional homes for women in Waco, as opposed to five for men.
Scheibe said in 2019, the Sunshine Recovery House hosted a fundraiser that raised enough money to purchase The Pink Lady — located at 708 N. 15th St. — with the help of a matching donor.
With the onset of the pandemic — which limited the number of women they could house from nine women in two houses to five women in one — Scheibe said they decided to officially move into The Pink Lady. The move allowed them to host 11 women, but The Pink Lady was in need of many repairs.
“When we moved in, we did not realize how much disrepair it was in until we started living here,” Scheibe said.
Having raised enough money with their previous fundraiser to get the house leveled, Scheibe said the current focus is the windows.
“We figured with the weather and the extreme heat and the extreme cold, that windows could help tremendously with just making it comfortable for the women here,” Scheibe said.
Scheibe said the more safe and comfortable the environment is, “the better chance we’re going to have of keeping them here.”
However, after receiving many quotes, Scheibe said the total cost to replace all the windows came out to at least $64,000.
“We were going to have another fundraiser, but again, it takes money, and we just don’t have the funds,” Scheibe said.
Having heard about the situation from a friend and feeling like God was calling him, Prosper junior Andrew Vilade said he volunteered his services to create the GoFundMe and some videos to aid the fundraising effort.
Vilade said he was nervous, as he has never organized a fundraiser before. However, after meeting with Scheibe and seeing the burden placed on these women, he said he felt they needed some support from the outside.
“It was kind of like an answer of prayer,” Vilade said. “My friend telling me about it was sort of like God calling and saying, ‘You’re meant for this, and you know they need you.’”
According to the website, the Sunshine Recovery House helps women with practical needs, programs and counseling, and job and life skills. Scheibe said they want to “help women establish their place in society.”
“I want women to understand our value and our worth,” Scheibe said. “It’s not just on the streets doing drugs and drinking. We’re not just mothers, and we’re not just wives. We are human beings that deserve to live out this beautiful life that God has given us. And in order to find that worth, we have to stay sober.”
Scheibe said at the house, women find jobs, get sponsors, go to 12 step meetings and have mandatory intensive outpatient therapy.
“The idea is that they become independent, that they’re not depending upon any resources, that they become able to support themselves so that they can move into their own place,” Scheibe said.
Scheibe said the concept of the house is that it would be self-sustaining by relying on the women paying rent. She said that oftentimes, though, when women come in, it takes them time to start earning money. Scheibe said the house is almost always at full capacity.
“And so, what do we do?” Scheibe said. “Do we kick them out because they can’t find a job or because they can’t pay the rent? So, a lot of times, women stay here without paying rent for a little while.”
In 2020, in an effort to aid funds, the Sunshine Recovery House opened Unshakeable Milkshakes in Union Hall. All profits funnel back into the house.
“It’s not just a milkshake,” Scheibe said. “It’s a milkshake with a mission.”
However, Scheibe said both COVID-19 and rising prices have created a struggle to keep Unshakeable Milkshakes open.
“We need more business,” Scheibe said. “Really when they’re getting the milkshake, they’re actually helping a woman that lives here. You know, when they’re unable to pay their rent, that’s what the money’s for, is that we’re able to kind of cover that expense.”
Scheibe said the Sunshine Recovery House needs donations to keep operations going and deal with restorations.
“The fundraiser is specifically for windows, but a lot of money still needs to go into the house,” Vilade said. “If [the windows] can be relieved, it takes so much stress off of them.”
After the windows, Scheibe said the house needs to be rewired and the front porch needs to be redone.
Coming up, Scheibe said the Sunshine Recovery House is hoping to host a “Scared Sober” haunted house and is looking for a place to host it. However, she said their main focus “is just to raise as much money as we can and just keep this house going and get it built up.”
“There was a time I didn’t want to live,” Scheibe said. “So if we can help save one life — one person’s life, one woman’s life — it’s not just her. It’s her children. It’s her husband. It’s her pets. It’s her parents. Everybody’s affected by it.”