Mary Margaret Butler’s life changed when she found a woman and five children freezing in their car in a parking lot in the middle of winter. “At that point, I decided to make every effort to help those who were lost and do everything in my power to get them off the streets.”

Mary Margaret, Director, and Founder of Whatsoever You Do (WYD), Inc, initially provided those in need with tents, camping gear, food cards, and bus tickets to the shelters. From there, the non-profit started renting apartments to provide shelter for homeless residents during the cold winter months.

To create a more permanent solution, WYD, Inc. purchased the East End Presbyterian Church in Ottumwa. The group has a four-phase plan to renovate the building to create an emergency shelter for women and children. “Since we have started this shelter project, I am so overwhelmed by all the volunteers that have been coming forward to help us. Our community is made up of some of the most wonderful and giving people. We should be very proud of them. Whether it is an individual, organization, or church, they keep coming to help us to accomplish this dream,” Butler said.

The organization received a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Grant from the Legacy Foundation in the summer of 2020 to begin work on Phase 2 of the project, renovating the building’s basement level. Completing the basement will allow WYD, INC to open on a partial basis while continuing renovations in phases 3 and 4 of the project. At full capacity, the facility will have the ability to house 75-100 individuals in emergency situations.

Funds provided by the grant were used for plumbing expenses, including removing old sewer stacks, replacing them with new stacks, and re-routing pipes to service the downstairs Intake bathroom/shower, women bathroom/shower room, boy’s bathroom/shower room, commercial laundry room and commercial kitchen and a sprinkler system.

In total, the Legacy Foundation has provided $60,000 dollars from the Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund to support this project.  Other funds were used a new roof and asbestos abatement.

To learn more about Whatsoever You Do, Inc, visit https://www.facebook.com/501c3NonProfitOrg/