Founder’s Day @ The Turning Point 2017

In March, The HFG team had the privilege of participating in the annual Founders Day at The Turning Point of South Carolina. If you aren’t familiar with Turning Point, allow me to introduce you. They are doing some wonderful work and filling a distinct need in society. When people are trying to overcome addiction, life is often harder than ever. Many of these individuals want to make a better life for themselves and their families, but a seemingly insurmountable set of obstacles is often in the way. Finding employment is difficult as the social stigma of a past life of substance abuse limits opportunities. A lack of job skills can be a hurdle. Support systems are often not in place to encourage growth, independence, and personal responsibility. And the list continues.

So while the intentions start off good, the soul-crushing setbacks of trying to start over often drive past addicts back to the habits and patterns that originally put them in the spiral. And its not necessarily because they want to, but because it’s all they know, or life has become desperate. This is where Turning Point has found its niche. They are able to provide housing, transportation, and meals to men (and soon women) who want to change their ways and are willing to work for it. It’s not free to the residents, but the weekly rate is affordable for most. Turning Point has also networked with many businesses to help find employment for their residents, thus increasing the chances of success. The program has been so successful, that many past residents have joined the staff in order to share their success and invest in others.

From an economic point of view, Turning Point is very interesting. While they exist as a non-profit charity, they have become essentially self-sustaining. Because the model involves the participants working and paying their way, The Turning Point doesn’t have to rely on donations to function. I love this! In fact, when they do ask for money, it is generally for seed to start a new project. Such is the case for the new women’s home they are working on. It will run similarly to the men’s facility, and once at capacity it will be able to sustain its daily operation. I am always happy to give toward a good cause, and I want to foster that value in my company’s culture. But I’m ecstatic to give when I know the money I give is stewarded well, and a return is generated well beyond the gift I give. If you want to learn more about The Turning Point of SC, check them out at www.turningpointofsc.org.

You Try to Provide Shelter for the Homeless and You Get Fined $12,000

Homeless Church

A local Maryland church has been fined $12,000 for providing shelter to homeless individuals living in the community. Over the last several years there has been a crackdown on privately funded charitable efforts, with local governments using food and safety concerns-along with zoning codes to penalize those who are trying to help those less fortunate.

Having the church provide this option has been a lifesaver for many. Just last month, 4,000 pounds of leftover barbecue from the World Series of BBQ in Kansas City, Missouri was destroyed before it was able to be served at a local homeless shelter. Local health officials claimed that they could not account for the safety of the food, even though the chefs who prepared the meat were world renowned in their craft. As a result, 3,000 homeless people went without a meal.

In 2014, an elderly man in his 90s was jailed numerous times for feeding the homeless after a city ordinance was passed, forbidding citizens from doing so. While these are just a few examples, both instances demonstrate a pattern of local governments shutting down individuals who were willing to dedicate their time and funds to helping those in need.

The events currently unfolding at the Patapsco United Methodist Church in Maryland follow this same trend of punishing those seeking to do charity work on a private and voluntary scale. For some time now, a handful of homeless community members have been using the church for shelter during the late night hours. Since Maryland winters can be rough, having the church provide this option has been a lifesaver for many who would have otherwise slept out on the street.

Chase Away Sleeping People?

Reverend Katie Grover lamented, “I can’t control who sleeps here at night unless I’m here all day and all night. Homelessness, poverty, it’s chronic. At this point in time, the best we can do as a church is just be a place of refuge and not be chasing people who are just trying to sleep.”

For the most part, the church has been able to provide shelter to these homeless individuals without strong opposition from the surrounding community. However, Chester Bartko, whose property line lies just behind the church, has insisted that the church put an end to providing shelter to those with nowhere else to go.

Bartko, who has repeatedly alerted local officials to the church’s actions, believes that the homeless should be seeking assistance elsewhere. “The county and state has facilities for homeless people. They shouldn’t be here living like this,” Bartko told local reporters. Bartko has also asserted that one of his apple trees, which rests on the other side of the church’s fence has been ruined by these homeless visitors, but these reports have not yet been confirmed.

Must Have a Permit! 

Since the church does not have the proper permit which would allow these homeless visitors to reside there overnight, the city is demanding that the church pay a $12,000 fine by December the 18th.

In times of economic uncertainty, communities should empower churches and other private organizations to give as much as they are willing to give. By creating criminals out of do-gooders, and then sending those in need back to into the state’s arms, we are not doing anything to strengthen our communities.

Reverend Grover is beside herself now that she is unable to continue what she believes to be God’s work. “This is the business that we conduct carrying for the least, the last and the lost, and the best we can do right now is let them take refuge,” she said. “I had one woman say this is the only place she felt safe to lay her head down to sleep at night because she has no place else to go. It’s an issue with no real good solution, but we as a church believe that Christ has called us to serve the least, the last, and the lost.”

This piece was published by Generation Opportunity


Brittany Hunter

Brittany Hunter is a Staff Contributor at Generation Opportunity.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.