Argrow’s Center for Healing and Hope transforms former Moline church

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Kit Evans-Ford, left, founder of Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope, with intern Erin Williams in the new Moline center, converted from the former Grace City Church (photo by Jonathan Turner).

It’s not exactly Easter, but this Thursday, Sept. 30 will celebrate a different kind of resurrection, with Argrow’s House 4th-annual fundraiser and the launch of The Argrow’s Center for Healing and Hope

Initially started in a converted Davenport house in December 2017, Argrow’s has created a comforting, inviting new home — by transforming the former Grace City Church at 2313 44th Street, Moline (off Avenue of the Cities) — into its first storefront, large communal space, and industrial kitchen space.

An open house for the general public at the 3,000-square-foot Moline facility will take place on Sept. 30th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The virtual celebration begins at 7 p.m.

Argrow’s House is a safe space in the QC region where free services are offered daily for women healing from violence and abuse. Services range from a domestic violence support group to therapeutic horseback riding, counseling services, and more. Argrow’s House is also a bath and body business where women healing from abuse create beautiful bath products that provide a living wage for themselves in a safe space that celebrates who they are.

Some of the bath soaps and face masks on display at the new Argrow’s Center for Healing and Hope, 2213 44th St., Moline (photo by Jonathan Turner).

Founder Kit Evans-Ford said Friday that the five-month, $70,000 renovation of the leased Moline property was necessary because they really needed the room, and to have dedicated space for the public to peruse and purchase the beautiful beauty products. They include soaps, bath balms, body butter, bath salts, essential oils, body lotion, hand sanitizer, shirts, hand-made jewelry, scarves, face masks, journals, and paintings.

The products have been available online — at argrowshouse.org, and several area gift shops — including at Genesis Medical Centers in Davenport and Silvis, UnityPoint Health — Trinity campuses in Rock Island, Moline, and Bettendorf, as well as K’nees Florists in Davenport, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, and Tina Rina Salon and Spa, 2715 W. 63rd St., Davenport.

The existing 1,200-square-foot house in Davenport (also undergoing renovations) “got to be very tight quarters,” Ford said, breathing a satisfied sigh of a relief in the very open Moline space. “This is nice.”

New flooring was among the many improvements made in the $70,000 building renovation, which took about five months (photo Jonathan Turner).

“We were really intentional about making this space look nice, so when women come in here, they feel good, celebrated and affirmed.”

The bright and airy center includes a display area entryway, where many products are shown and available for purchase, with more inside. The interior includes a counseling area, meeting table, and stylish interior decor with highlights of purple, teal and tulip designs. The Argrow’s House logo includes all three — purple representing domestic violence awareness; teal for sexual assault awareness, shaped in a tulip with a white profile of Ford’s grandmother.

Counseling is among the free services provided at Argrow’s Center for Healing and Hope (photo Jonathan Turner).

Argrow’s House is named after Rev. Argrow Margaret Warren, who endured domestic violence in her marriage and was “one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met in my life,” Ford said. The purple and blue tulip mural on the back wall was painted by Nana Phounsavath, a single mother of four who hopes to teach art classes at Argrow’s.

Kit Ford and Erin Williams with a hand-painted mural at the Moline center, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 (photo Jonathan Turner).

On Sept. 30, fundraiser sponsors will have pre-scheduled tours of the new Argrow’s Center for Healing and Hope. The private tour will include behind-the-scenes encounters with survivor employees as they create products in house, private shopping, a special gift bag, as well as the opportunity to have you or your company’s name permanently on a special plaque in the Argrow’s Center wall of official sponsors. 

Among the generous donors to the nonprofit have been Marilyn and Bruce Boardman, who have committed $20,000 a year for the past three years, and Grace City Church — based at the cathedral at 1925 5th Ave., Rock Island, where Ford is a minister and her husband, Rev. Dwight Ford, is pastor. “We’ve definitely been blessed,” Kit Ford said.

The virtual celebration will begin at 7 p.m., including a keynote speech from Catherine Wales, managing director of a social enterprise, Vunme Designs, with Empower Tanzania. She works with women survivors of gender-based violence in Same, Tanzania in East Africa, where they provide free therapeutic services for the women. The women produce gorgeous batik and hand-dyed fabrics in their social enterprise, and their masks are among Argrow’s merchandise.

Face masks at Argrow’s have been made by female survivors of violence through Empower Tanzania (photo Jonathan Turner).

The Sept. 30 Argrow’s program will also include survivor testimonials, musical entertainment, a live #SurvivorStrong painting, and a program showcasing the important developments of the new Argrow’s House Center for Healing and Hope for 2021-2022.

Renovations of the Davenport house will allow for six women to live there at one time, as they recover from abuse and violence.

Tickets for the virtual fundraiser (which include gift bags with restaurant gift cards) cost $20, and are available at Eventbrite (on the nonprofit’s website). The Moline center shop hours will be Saturdays (starting Oct. 2) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and one weeknight will be added later.

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