25 years of
stepping out in faith!

The Story of Goodness Village


Over 25 years ago, Anita Blanton and her mother spent their days in a waiting room at the VA hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, waiting for Anita’s father to eventually get better. Anita and her husband lived in Little Rock, but her mother and father did not. When her father grew very sick and was sent to Little Rock for treatment, her mother passed the majority of that time in the waiting room. Luckily she had her daughter nearby the hospital that offered an escape from the fluorescent lights.

there was nowhere to stay outside of the hospital except for overpriced hotels

However, many of the people they met in the waiting room along the way were not as fortunate. They had also traveled to Little Rock from far away, but there was nowhere to stay outside of the hospital except for overpriced hotels. Anita felt something in her heart that this just wasn’t right. This is a fragile time for family, and loved ones shouldn’t have to struggle just to be near them. In that very waiting room, Anita prayed about how this could be changed.

Anita had no idea how this could ever be possible until one day a new face joined her small group at Little Rock Church. Her name was Carolynn Johnson. In this first meeting, Carolynn shared her desire to serve Christ by working with patients at the cancer center in Little Rock. A spark was lit in Anita to explore this idea with Carolynn, and from that day on, the Goodness Village mission was born.

The pair began visiting the Multiple Myeloma Institute on a regular basis to talk to social workers and visit families in the waiting rooms. Through their conversations, they learned what these families needed most was affordable housing where they could be by themselves and get away from the hospital for a little while, a home away from home during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

They knew what they had to do, but how? One day, Carolynn called Anita and said, “I leased an apartment!” Anita was surprised and wondered how they would be able to furnish it, but Carolynn was confident and knew that their small group and church would be able to help furnish it and pay for the upkeep. Their leap of faith was rewarded, and Little Rock Church fully furnished that first apartment.

First Guests

From the very beginning, they were offered comfort, care, and community from these two women and the congregation of Little Rock Church

Their first guests were the Hansons. Anita and Carolynn had met them in the waiting room at the Myeloma Institute, and became close friends through their conversations. As they stayed in Little Rock for the remainder of their treatment, their friendship only grew. From the very beginning, they were offered comfort, care, and community from these two women and the congregation of Little Rock Church.

Little Rock Church eventually began sponsoring their mission, and they officially became Home Away From Home, a ministry of Little Rock Church. Through this partnership, their mission was able to grow to serve more apartments and more families seeking treatment in the area. After about seven years of service to the ministry, Carolynn stepped down and later passed away from cancer. Anita knew it was close to time for her to leave as well, and she eventually decided to retire and give the ministry completely over to Little Rock Church. This was a big decision to let go of something she had dedicated her life to, but she knew in her heart this was the right decision and once again stepped out in faith. She knew that it wasn’t her ministry, but God’s.

The Next Chapter

God wasn’t done with this ministry yet, and He called Regina Graham to be the next leader of Home Away From Home. Regina was there from the beginning with Carolynn and Anita. She volunteered when they needed volunteers and would visit the patients with goody bags, sourdough bread, desserts, and of course lots of conversations. Over time she did more and more volunteer work, and when Anita was stepping down, she presented Regina to Little Rock Church as her replacement. Regina never thought that one day she would be running the ministry herself, but she consistently showed up to God’s call on her life to volunteer until one day He called her to lead.

She was drawn to this ministry because she understood what it was like to be in the same shoes as the people she was serving. When Regina was 13, her mother got sick with cancer and had to go to another state for treatment. 12 years later, it happened again, but this time Regina lived in a completely different state than where her mother lived or where she went for treatment. She spent months in waiting rooms and different hotels because she had nowhere to stay to be close to her mom. She knew that this ministry was an answer to prayer for many people who are in those same shoes.

It wasn’t long until Regina knew that God had brought her the perfect replacement

Regina continued the mission for another eight years, and in 2010, Kim Burket was called to be the next leader of the ministry. Kim had attended Little Rock Church for a few years at this point and had volunteered regularly with Home Away From Home. She had also felt the impact that cancer has on families because both of her grandmothers died from blood cancer, just like the majority of the patients they were serving at Home Away From Home. Kim fell in love with the people and what the ministry represented, and it wasn’t long until Regina knew that God had brought her the perfect replacement.

New Beginnings

Much like what happened with Regina, this took Kim by surprise because she had never done ministry work before, but with her background in hotel sales and marketing as well as her passion for the ministry, Regina knew she was the next leader of Home Away From Home. After much prayer, Kim realized that God had been preparing her for this role the whole time, so she jumped in and started leading. 

Kim felt an immediate sense of purpose with the ministry. It was so evident to her that God was having her be His hands and feet and do His work in Little Rock. This ministry has brought together people from all over the United States and the world. It has grown from one apartment in 1995 to 20 in 2020. It has grown from a calling two women felt on their hearts to a fully functioning 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. From Home Away From Home to Goodness Village, it may have grown through the years, but the mission has never changed. 

Each of these women that have led this ministry remembers the face and story of every person that has stayed with them through the years because they all have a unique and special place in their hearts. Goodness Village is more than just a housing solution to families in need, it is forming deep connections with a community and forming meaningful relationships with the volunteers and staff. 

Goodness Village is once again stepping out in faith and asking for your donations to be able to grow the number of families they can serve next year. Donations go towards being able to continue their mission of serving the sick and providing a comfortable and safe place to stay during one of the most difficult times in their lives. 

Please join us in supporting another 25 years of service and dedication to Christ’s work in Little Rock!