The Soul’s Harbor campus sits out in the country off of Highway 175 and Beltline Rd. Unsung and unheralded, yet in it’s day perhaps the most effective Men’s shelter ever devised. Soul’s Harbor is a non-profit, non-denominational institution which makes men out of half-men.
It all began with a man named L.E. “Jake” Stembridge who liked to wear overalls and help his fellow man. For a number of years he had been visiting missions and was disturbed by what he saw. Mostly, he saw desperate men taken in for the night, given a meal and sermon, then turned out on the street once more to fend for themselves and the same problems all over again, alone. Jake knew there was a better way, perhaps a “soul’s harbor” where a man could stay for a spell, think and evaluate his life and maybe do something to make positive changes.
Jake never had the resources for such a project so he took his idea to a Dallas businessman named Ralph Whittle. Mr. Whittle agreed to finance such an institution on a small scale. Jake immediately set himself to the task of molding his dream into reality. In the spring of 1956, he purchased a small cottage in Kleberg, which is now incorporated into the City of Dallas. He then visited a couple of Dallas missions and invited a half-dozen men to share his Soul’s Harbor. At the cottage, they worked and regained their self-respect. These men left and more came. Jake’s success rate of rehabilitation was amazing.
On August 2, 1956, Soul’s Harbor was chartered as a charitable, non-profit institution. A seven man board of directors was established. Three members of that board were alcoholics who had recovered. A method of financing was needed so Jake began seeking out discarded items which could be repaired and sold. The institution still is financed by resellable donated items, monetary donations and proceeds from our four “Soul’s Harbor Thrift Stores”.
Soul’s Harbor has men from every walk of life. Today, Jake’s dream has evolved into a campus of two dormitory facilities that house 60 men, the small cottage where it all began and the executive director’s home. A dining hall, meeting hall, warehouse, indoor recreation area with: television; gaming activities; a clothes closet for men who have no more than the “…clothes on their back…” to receive clothing, at no costs. The Soul’s Harbor institution operates four “Soul’s Harbor Thrift Stores” which are located in the cities of Ennis, Ferris, Seagoville and Waxahachie.
Soul’s Harbor is more than a shelter. Soul’s Harbor offers a six month program that should provide, for the men, the basic tools that will help facilitate them to become reintegrated back into society. We have Work Therapy, Relapse Prevention, Overcomers (faith base 12 step), Life Skills, N.A. and A.A., Anger Management, Bible Study and a Prayer every morning to start our day. If a man utilizes the tools that has been provided him within these six months, he should leave Soul’s Harbor with a job and a place to live.
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New online donation processing:
Soul’s Harbor can now provide the convenience of taking your donation request online. Just follow the link to our new online “Household Donation Request Form”. We are also now taking vehicle donations and have an online donation processing form for this too. “Vehicle Donation Request Form”