Staff at 180 Ministries, a women’s residential treatment center in Erda, put on their first annual fall festival on Saturday, Oct. 27. It included a giant pumpkin patch, games for kids, a raffle, food, and a petting zoo, all for a good cause.
Over 3,000 people attended the festival at 812 Bates Canyon Road from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A total of $44,900 was collected to help women with substance abuse disorder and those escaping abusive situations who don’t have tuition money to live at the center for a year or longer.
Cars lined up all along Bates Canyon Road and parked in an adjacent parking lot to attend the festival.
The chilly fall, 40-degree day set the scene for a fall festival which included a large fire pit for keeping warm and roasting smores. Other food at the festival included hotdogs, chicken, popcorn, and cotton candy, along with hot chocolate and apple cider. For children there was face painting, a petting zoo with small animals, and a carnival area with bounce houses, a duck pond, archery, ring toss, a balloon smash game, a candy bounce, and pumpkin tic tac toe with prizes. For $30, festival attendees could purchase a punch pass card which included 10 punches for the food, face painting, and games.
At the festival, there were also over 40 vendors selling a variety of products including honey, blankets, makeup, jewelry, and stuffed animals; a raffle with big-ticket items, and pumpkins for sale by the pound.
Jillene Muller, director of 180 Ministries Utah came up with the idea for the festival as a way to raise money for the women in the program who may not normally have the money to be able to go through the program.
“We have a beautiful five-acre campus with space and an apple orchard,” Muller said. “We planted a pumpkin patch and we wanted to be networked into the community and bring awareness about what our program does to the community. I knew that we had to come up with ways to raise money, and my first vision was to come up with a fall festival when I first interviewed for the director position. We are responsible to raise money for finances not to be the barrier for women who are coming into the program. We needed to raise money to fund scholarship opportunities.”
The first step to putting together the festival was to open up a pumpkin patch on the weekends during the month of October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The pumpkin patch was very successful and generated a lot of traffic, Muller said.
After coming up with the idea for the festival and opening up the pumpkin patch, Muller and her staff got to work advertising and working to spread the word.
“The festival kept growing from my original ideas,” Muller said. “The community of Tooele really got excited to have a local event where they didn’t have to drive to Salt Lake… I started posting into the community asking for vendors and I had an overwhelming response. It just started growing from there. We were also able to secure lots of raffle items and monetary donations we were able to use for fundraising opportunities … We had a lot of community support and everyone rallied around us.”
All of the money collected will be donated to women entering the program who don’t have money to pay their $2,700 a month tuition.
“We rely heavily from money donated from the community to invest into saving a woman’s life,” Muller said.
The $44,900 takes a bite out of 180 Ministries’ goal to raise $100,000 by the end of the year.
To donate to the program visit 180ministires.net and click on the “Utah Center for Women” tab. 180 Ministries is a non-profit, Christian residential live-in, rehabilitation center—an outgrowth of Adult and Teen Challenge.
The treatment center is located on a large, quiet piece of land in Erda with fruit trees, a greenhouse, chickens, cats, a cow, and now a pumpkin patch. The home includes a dormitory, along with bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, firepit, porch, gym, and private areas for residents to spend their time healing and thinking.
The center originally opened in 2001 in Tooele and took in teenage girls. In May 2022, the program transitioned to helping women. The center is always ready to receive women struggling with various issues, but the most common is drug and alcohol addiction.
Typically, residents stay at the facility for a year, but they may stay for up to two years.
“The women in the program need a reset,” Linda Elliot, a worker at the facility told the Transcript. “They know there is a reason for their addiction or life-controlling problem, but they don’t know why. They want to take time exploring and finding out why this is happening.”
During their time at the home, residents participate in a faith-based rehab program with rewards for reaching milestones.
“Our heart is to unpack their trauma and heal, so they can walk through it and break free,” Carly Guidry, assistant director at the facility said. “We want these women that come that have life-controlling issues, through God, to find freedom.”
Though the curriculum is faith-based, women at the facility aren’t forced to come to any kind of faith.
During their time at the center, women also help out with cooking and maintaining the grounds, as well as participating in different activities, classes, and outings. Employees at the home also help them prepare for their future by obtaining access to jobs, a vehicle, and housing when they are done with the program. One of the goals of the program is to heal women so their daughters don’t have to go through the same issues they face.
“We want to reach moms, so their daughters never need the program. That’s our goal,” Guidry said.
There is room for around 18 women at the facility, according to Elliot. Those who are interested in attending should call 435-843-5602 or log-on to 180ministries.net.
180 Ministries plan to host their fall festival each year.