• By Carol Lacer Chapman News-Times
The Cedar House in rural Abilene has been offering a helping hand to women in the area since 2012, providing a sober living environment for those dealing with alcohol and drug abuse. The Cedar House works with women who are willing to make a long-term commitment to changing how they live their lives, and who have a deep desire to stay sober.
Patti O’Malley, of Cedar House Foundation outreach, said the foundation started after the death of her son, Riley Knox.
“My youngest son died in a car accident when he was trying to get home. He and I had been walking through recovery together and he had relapsed,” O’Malley states in her online testimony. “When his car went off the bridge he was just five miles from home. I couldn’t save him, but I can help someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, or mother to make it home safely those last five miles. That’s what The Cedar House means to me – getting someone home safe through those last five miles.”
She started the cabin group, a gathering in a cabin on the Cedar House property, to reach out to other women who were affected by addiction. The organization has grown from that simple beginning, and been successful in its mission, according to online testimonies of those who have been helped, and whose lives have been changed.
The Cedar House Foundation is currently announcing a new program designed to help all women, which is unrelated to drug or alcohol addiction.
O’Malley said the new program, Neighbor to Neighbor, at 803 Cedar Street in Abilene, takes place in a large house and is open to all women, with or without children.
“It is for all women of all walks of life, a community drop-in center,” O’Malley said. “Neighbor to Neighbor is open to any women, regardless of where they come from – we will welcome them.”
The Neighbor to Neighbor home is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Women are asked to come with their talents, ready to share their skills with others, or to come in and learn a skill, shared by another.
“We believe that having a healthy community, where women can use their talents and share with others, is a powerful force for change. Our goal with neighbor to neighbor is to provide the space where women can meet and share their time and talents,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said they would love women to find new purpose for their talents. “We will provide them the women who want to share and learn their gifts, whatever those gifts may be,” O’Malley said.
Some of the talents and teachings which will be shared include development in job skills, 12 step meetings, parenting classes, support groups, and pain management, according to their website, cedarhouserecovery.org.
The neighbor to neighbor program also has established specific ways to care for women, which include a take-out supper each week, showers, laundry, and on-site child care for children from birth to five years of age.
“Yes, we do help women do their laundry. And they can take a shower there too,” O’Malley said. “We have hot water. That is something that is not always available to many.”
Neighbor to Neighbor will also offer free hot lunches for participants, cooking classes, baking classes, and daily fellowship, with friend-making added as a natural outcome as women share their abilities and care for others.
A ribbon cutting will take place for Neighbor to Neighbor at 11:45 a.m. at 803 Cedar Street in Abilene on Thursday, Feb. 2. A tour of the facility will follow.
To learn more about Neighbor to Neighbor, or The Cedar House Foundation, please visit cedarhouserecovery.org.
Neighbor to Neighbor, a place where women of all walks of life can share or learn skills of many kinds, or simply talk with a friend or eat a warm meal, is now open at 803 Cedar Street in Abilene.