LifeSource fulfills its name

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 146 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — Tucked back in a south Fayetteville strip mall anchored by an O’Reilly Auto Parts store, LifeSource International is helping thousands each year, with — literally — anything they need.

The nonprofit is unique in that it offers a holistic approach to some of life’s hardest challenges by making a difference both now and for generations to come.

“We treat the family as a whole and offer hope and encouragement to help situations that people find themselves in,” said founder and CEO Ernie Conduff.

Programs and services include a food and clothing pantry, counseling services, kids life programs, senior Saturdays and a variety of classes from cooking to personal finance.

LifeSource served about 50,000 individuals in 2011 alone. Although located in Washington County, aid is extended to Benton, Crawford and Madison counties, as well. No one is ever turned away.

And that’s something to celebrate.

LifeSource turns 10 this month and will commemorate the milestone with a Birthday Bash Friday (April 27) at the Fayetteville Town Center. Details and tickets can be found here.

When talking about the success of the last decade, Conduff is quick to point out that it is not about the numbers or the size of the building.

“It is the heart of the people and the changes we see in their lives,” he said.

His goals for the future do, however, include a larger facility. The current space is at capacity with staff offices also serving as storage rooms. Donations and supplies are stored off site and at businesses owned by board members. There is little space for concurrent events.

Many of those served by LifeSource end up becoming volunteers, or in the case of development director Serina Tunstill, they become faithful employees. She sought help from LifeSource when she became a single mother of two and is now development director for LifeSource.

The organization’s original board of directors is still intact, and some of the first volunteers continue to give their time.

The success stories are many. Conduff tells the story of a senior adult who took a personal finance course at LifeSource and discovered that her lifetime dream of home ownership was within reach. At age 70, she was able to buy her first home, which was built the same year she was married 50 years ago.