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Presbyterian church in California nurtures ‘Free Butterflies’ to address housing crisis

The Mighty Women of St. Mark’s have worked for years to serve people who are unhoused in Lomita

by Rich Copley | Special to Presbyterian News Service


LOMITA, California — For years the Mighty Women of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church have worked to help residents at an encampment for people without housing near their church.

Heidi Strobel was an artist and part of the Free Butterflies program for newly housed women run by St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Lomita, California. She is shown in her new apartment in Long Beach, which she was able to move into with support from the Free Butterflies. Strobel died May 3, 2023. (Photo by Rich Copley, Presbyterian Mission Agency)

As they worked with the community, the members of the church recognized that another problem was even people who were able to get housing had trouble staying in it, for a variety of reasons. So, they launched Free Butterflies, a program to support newly housed women with the community and skills to help them succeed.

In this video, you will hear from people who lead the program and those who have benefitted from it. Addressing systemic poverty, including houselessness, is one of the core foci of the Matthew 25 vision of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

This video is dedicated to the memory of Free Butterfly Heidi Strobel, who generously gave of her time and talents and passed away between the recording and completion of this piece.

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