In the 1980's Roxanne Nordquist was counseling female inmates at the Orange County Detention Center in Orlando, Florida. As the first cases of HIV/AIDS were diagnosed, Ms. Nordquist recognized a deep desire and a calling to minister to those who are HIV/AIDS infected and affected.
At the time, there were no Christian ministries in Central Florida reaching out to those living with this disease. Miraculously, after sharing her heart with her Pastor, a door opened for ministry. In February 1990, The Central Florida Haven of Hope Ministries was born.
The Haven of Hope began in a small trailer with a few faithful volunteers, a metal cabinet for food items, a phone line for information, and two chairs for anonymous counseling and prayer. At that time, the small office was packed weekly with people attending Bible Studies or sitting quietly in prayer. It was a difficult time for those infected with HIV/AIDS because many were dying. Those who were newly diagnosed realized that HIV/AIDS was a death sentence because the medications needed to stave off the progression of the disease were in the infancy stages of research.
In the 1980's, the "face" of AIDS was predominantly gay white men, I.V. drug users, and hemophiliacs. Women, children, and the elderly were a small but growing percentage of the infected community. At that time there were approximately 80,000 new infections each year. Protease Inhibitors, one of many medications developed to combat the disease, were used experimentally in 1993. When Protease Inhibitors was officially approved in 1994, it changed the "face" of AIDS.
In spite of the uncertainties, Haven of Hope had faith that God would meet the needs of a growing and needed ministry: we outgrew our much appreciated but small office. A local church donated the use of a house on its property so we could concentrate on developing programs to better serve those in need.
Upon establishing our own non-profit 501 (c)3 status, Haven of Hope decided that as a non-denominational/faith-based organization, we could better serve our clients by moving to a more accessible location on a bus route. With our office away from church property, those from other Christian denominations and/or faiths would be more likely to participate.
In 2008, the Board of Directors and Staff decided that Haven of Hope would open our doors to beyond the HIV/AIDS community. This decision was based on the growing needs and poverty issues faced by the increased number of families struggling with hunger, homelessness, and a host of other issues. Many elderly are coming to us for food assistance, social security barely paying rent. Families are living in cars, and we are able to assist them with food, blankets, and what ever we have available to give at the time. New people are coming to our doors every day, as the needs in our community are growing.
Over the years, Haven of Hope has been honored to minister to many people. Since our inception, we have helped families and individuals with our many support services. We have also helped those in need come to know the Lord's love through counseling and prayer. It is our goal to never turn anyone away who is hungry, sick, or feeling hopeless.
Several years ago, we decided to begin to assist individuals living in poverty in India. This in accomplished in several ways, but it is all centered around reducing the disparity of those struggling with poverty, sickness, and hunger. Our main outreach in India is to an orphanage that cares for 30 abandoned children. At the orphange we are assisting with food, providing educational materials, school uniforms and supplies to the thirty children at the facility.