7Cares Idaho Shares: Boise Rescue Mission

A Meridian woman shares how the City Light Home in Boise helped her get off the streets and turn her life around.

Every year thousands of Idahoans give to help local charities during 7Cares Idaho Shares.

Charities like the Boise Rescue Mission, one of the largest providers of services to homeless and generally needy people in the state of Idaho.

One of the programs that benefit from 7Cares Idaho Shares is the Boise Rescue Mission's City Light Home, a shelter for women and children.

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Jessica Kauffman is an example of a success story to come out of the City Light Home.

Kauffman was stuck working as a prostitute in a life she knew she needed to get of. She ended up in Boise after her pimp decided it would be a good place to move their work to.

In 2015, she was arrested in Boise on prostitution charges and eventually sent to the Ada County Jail.

“I was facing some pretty hefty charges and I was addicted to alcohol and drugs. The past 12 years, I was a prostitute on the streets of Portland, Oregon and during that time I had two children I was dragging along with me," said Kauffman.

It was in that jail where a stranger heard Jessica talking about wanting to make a change, so she told her about the City Light Home for women and children in Boise.

"She heard me on the telephone telling my sister I didn't want to go back to the house I was living in and she told me about the new life program at City Light," said Kauffman.

So Kauffman applied for the program, a short time later she was accepted.

"I was relieved, because I didn't really want to get out and go back to the same situation I had just left, I felt hope for the first time," said Kauffman.

Advisors at the City Light Home told Kauffman changing her life wouldn't be easy,

"At the time everything was stripped away from me so I felt like it was right and was a long time over do," said Kauffman.

Over the next 15 months Kauffman was able to completely turn her life around.

"Not having to worry about the basic needs because they are provided by the mission, and being able to work on myself and get the skills that I need as a member of society, and to be a good mom, that means the world to me," said Kauffman.

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Nowadays, Kauffman says she and her kids are living a happy life in Meridian.

"I have a full time job, we live in our own home, I can drive, I'm home with my kids every morning and every night, and so the stability of it is amazing," said Kauffman.

Dozens of other women with success stories like Kauffman come through the doors at City Light every year.

Briana LeClaire, Director of Women's and Children's Ministries at the Boise Rescue Mission, says it's easy to see just how big of a change women go through at City Light.

"The type of women that are targeted are women that are in need of a safe, clean, healthy place to stay while they figure out how to best reintegrate back into society," said LeClaire. "Everyone that comes is very vulnerable and so we do our best to take care of them and build them up."

There are great stories that come out of City Light every year, but the success of the program depends on one thing.

"City Light would not exist without the community," said LeClaire.

That's why your donation during 7Cares Idaho Shares is making a huge impact in the community

"It's vital absolutely fundamental, we couldn't do this without 7Cares," said LeClaire.

The women at City Light will tell you the truth, without it things would be much different for women in need.

"I know where I would be, I'd be back out on the street, for sure. It means saving lives, they saved my life," said Kauffman.

Be sure to join us this Saturday for 7Cares Idaho Shares Day.

You can make a cash or food donation between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Albertsons Stadium, or at one of the 8 Fred Meyer stores or 28 Albertsons stores in the Treasure Valley and Twin Falls.

For more on 7Cares Idaho Shares or to donate online checkout our event guide.