Home to hold harvest festival

Published 9:29 pm Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A local organization that aims to provide shelter to girls and young women who have been trafficked or have aged out of foster care will hold a harvest festival this weekend to raise money for startup costs.

Homestead Ranch, located at 2510 Whaleyville Blvd., will host four local bands, vendors, food trucks, and family activities including pony rides, face-painting, puppet shows and more.

Alan and Dana Steele are starting the Homestead Ranch to expand their outreach. They are the parents of 16 adopted children, and Dana, in her work as an attorney, represents children from foreign countries brought to the United States for trafficking as well as religious and economic freedom.

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Money raised will go toward the $100,000 down payment on a 10-bedroom home adjacent to the Steeles’ residence. The 10-bedroom home will serve as the shelter, Steele said.

“We hope to own it within the next year,” she said. “It’s for girls that have been trafficked or that have aged out of foster care and are homeless. Girls that age out of foster care and don’t have anywhere to go are more likely to be trafficked. We’re trying to get rid of those odds.”

Services provided for young women at the facility will include counseling, mentoring, GED classes, job skills training, transportation, a therapeutic animal program and more.

“We have a long list of girls ready to move into our restoration home,” Steele said. “They are coming from the Hampton Roads area, and from up and down the eastern seaboard, particularly Miami, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and New York. We need the active involvement of the community to help make this a reality.”

The festival will take place on Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person in advance or $7 at the gate, while families of six or more can get in for $25 in advance or $30 at the gate.

For advance tickets or more information, visit www.homesteadranch.org.