A veteran aid startup will focus on an under recognized group of service members - women.

The ribbon was cut Friday on the Military Family Flea Market building, 134 N. Glenwood Boulevard, which eventually also will house 10 homeless female veterans as part of the Christian Restoration Community Care Program.

The building will have a flea market in the front where the public can browse through donated items in a never-ending garage sale.

Friday marked the official ribbon cutting for the flea market, after a program with U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert as the keynote speaker.

The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 3 to 6 p.m. Sundays.

In addition to the market, a food cart in front will sell corn, burgers and nachos when the store is open. All sales benefit the remodeling of the back of the building into a dormitory-style temporary home for childless women veterans.

Debra Christian, of Christian Restoration Community, is spearheading the effort. The nonprofit provides long-term housing, education, transportation and life skills to veterans. She's also a member of a long list of veteran organizations and sits on the Mayor's Veterans Roundtable.

Ms. Christian said she has received donations from across East Texas for the project, and now, she needs customers.

The end goal would be to have a two-year program to get the women into the VA healthcare system and connect them with a local college for technical skills training to give them a skill set for meaningful employment by the end of the program, Ms. Christian said.

She hopes to have the home filled by the spring, but the timetable is dependent on the flea market's sales.

Lowe's donated showers and toilets for the home, and Ms. Christian is raising money to hire a contractor to complete the renovations to turn the former carpet store into a living space. The blueprints are complete

Digital Content Manager

Faith Harper is an East Texas native working for her hometown newspaper. She specializes in digital content for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. In her spare time, she loves tacos, road trips and is currently learning to sail.

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