Feeling the pinch at City of Refuge | RecordCourier.com

Feeling the pinch at City of Refuge

by Sheila Gardner

Like many extended families, the residents at City of Refuge are experiencing some tough economic times.

Charitable giving has decreased at the privately-run nonprofit that provides a home for pregnant women and girls and accepts no funding from the residents, their families or any government agency.

Dave and Diane Gamble, who began City of Refuge 20 years ago in their own home, sent out a plea to donors earlier this year.

“There’s been a wonderful response,” Dave Gamble said. “It looks better for the moment.”

“We’re the first ones to recognize the economy is the way it is,” he said. “Everybody’s in the same boat. To the extent everybody wants City of Refuge to continue, we have to support it. If giving is down, spending is down.”

Several churches and other organizations have adopted City of Refuge, holding annual baby showers to provide diapers, clothing and other items for new moms and their infants.

“This community is what has kept City of Refuge alive,” he said.

Gamble said one donor picks up tuition costs for the residents’ high school programs.

Another family has donated a side of beef every year for at least a decade.

Almost 10 years ago, the Gambles received a “relatively new” four-wheel drive vehicle. But the rocky roads that lead to City of Refuge in the Pine Nuts have taken their toll.

Gamble said expenses primarily are food, utilities and insurance for the three residences, the mothers, their babies and house expenses.

He said no one has ever been turned away, and City of Refuge has grown to accept foster children and at-risk adults referred for temporary shelter.

“The only time we turn someone down has been when we’re absolutely full. Then, they just have to wait for an opening,” Gamble said.

“This is a refuge for whoever needs it,” he said. “It’s a refuge for all of us.”

That doesn’t mean no rules or regulations.

Gamble said residents can expect to live by “blatantly Christian” principles.

“These moms and babies have had shelter, food, medical care, educational opportunity, a chance to see how families can live well together, and a chance to start their lives over, in a sense, with a new hope, new knowledge, new relationships, and most importantly, a new acquaintance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Donations come in from as far away as New Jersey and as close as Gardnerville.

“Diane and I now frequently meet teenagers who were born when their moms were at Refuge. Many of these kids are with their adoptive families, placed there by moms who not only gave them life, but then selflessly gave them a life with opportunities and benefits they themselves could not have provided,” he said.

Gamble said City of Refuge house parents Mark and Sherry Barnett receive a small stipend in addition to housing. Everyone else at the facility volunteers their services.


City of Refuge accepts donations of all kinds. Particular needs are a reliable used four-wheel drive vehicle and gift cards to grocery stores and Costco. Donations also may be made through the City of Refuge Web site, http://www.refugenv.com or sent to PO Box 2663, Gardnerville, NV 89410.