A group of women in Beaver Falls is taking the streets and aiming to change their community. Standing in the Gap Ministries, known as SITG, saw a problem with drugs and prostitution in their neighborhood.
"I guess you could say that the Lord gave me the idea of this group, gave me the women to contact to be involved in this group, and that's how we pretty much began," said Andrea Cottom-Anderson, the founder of SITG.
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The ladies who comprise SITG walk the streets of Beaver Falls at least once a week. On their walks, they meet with drug addicts and prostitutes, and minister to them in the hopes of helping them change their lives.
"I really like doing it, because you know, I'm very compassionate about people, and I don't want to see them out there, because nobody grows up to say they want to be a prostitute. Nobody grows up and says they want to be a drug addict or anything like that," said Victoria Lee, one of SITG's members.
SITG has been walking the streets since 2014, and the women said they can see the difference they're making.
"It's been a great joy, to tremendous sadness when we lose women. But it's always worth it to just know that we can save lives," said Sirena Ours, one of SITG's members.
The ladies' hard work goes beyond the streets. In a small room in a nearby church, the group has bags of supplies they hand out to women they've met on the street, along with a board of names of people they're praying for.
"We have a love and respect from them, and you know, we call them our girls. We care about them just like they're our family. Our goal is to get them off the streets and get them into, you know, rehab, get them you know, abck to being with their families," said Cottom-Anderson.
Their work is far from over. The Rite-Aid Corporation gifted SITG an old building, which sits abandoned on 7th Avenue. The group plans to clean it up and turn it into a space where they can turn around and hire some of the women they're helping to take off the streets.
"This is reality. This is actually going on. But we're out here, we're really trying to help these people and trying to give them back the lives they used to have," said Cottom-Anderson.
SITG gladly accepts donations and volunteers to help them on their mission. If you'd like to help, you can send donations to PO Box 354, Beaver Falls, PA 15010. For more information, you can reach them at (724) 701-1765.
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