A ministry only 18 months old — what some might consider still in the “learning to walk” stage — has taken off running.
Southeast Carolina Crossroads was birthed out of what area Christian leaders saw as a desperate need — help for males with drug addiction. Since its inception and establishment at the former Eckerd Camp, the Christian ministry has stretched its legs up and down the eastern seaboard. Clients served come from Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and include a large number from New Jersey.
“There are a lot of drug-addiction programs out there,” said Crossroads Administrative Director Robbie Jones, “but not a lot of faith-based centers.
“Faith-based programs are hard to find — ones that believe in Jesus Christ and in the truth of the Bible, and that freedom from addiction can be found through faith in Him. The secular world tells people addiction is a disease; we tell people it’s a sin, but there is help and hope in Christ.”
While people do come from out-of-state for the program, the need right here in Bladen County is real.
“What we’ve seen is just a huge rise in opioid use,” said Jones. “Kids think it’s not a big deal to smoke a little weed, and a lot of guys move to cocaine. It becomes expensive, and heroine is a cheap alternative with a longer high. It’s a huge problem here.”
Currently, six staff members serve 18 men at the 42-day residential program, and the board of directors wants to make 19 more beds available to meet the increasing demand. In addition, the program regularly receives calls about treatment for women and sees a need for a halfway house for the men exiting the program. Determining the next step — beginning a program for women, expanding the number of beds at the men’s program, or starting a halfway house for men — is a heavy weight for the board, according to Jones. Regardless of the next step, the need for finances is preeminent.
To that end, two fundraisers are set to take place.
On Saturday, an auction will be held at the old airport at White Lake. Organizers have already secured items like cakes and pies, a pressure washer, and a vehicle.
“We’ll sell anything anybody wants to give us,” said organizer Jimmie Smith. “Used or new — it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s not junk and has some use left in it.”
Donated items may be dropped off at the Bladen Baptist Association. The auction will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, and hot dogs and hamburgers will be sold for lunch.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the group is hosting a BBQ plate sale. As of Friday, Smith said the group had not determined the cost, but the plate will consist of BBQ, baked beans, and slaw.
Tickets will be on sale at the auction, or interested persons may call Smith at 910-874-0364. Cooking will take place at the Historical Building in Bladenboro, where guests may dine in or take out. Plates will also be delivered to the Bladen Baptist Association for folks to pick up in Elizabethtown.
The group is hoping, between the two fundraisers, to add $25,000 to the coffers.
“That’s a pretty hefty goal,” said Smith, “so we’re just going to do the best job we can.”
He added, “There’s not a family in Bladen County, I don’t think, that doesn’t have somebody — maybe it’s down the line, but it’s there — involved in drugs. It seems like it’s so bad right now. It’s a big need, and we’re just trying to do our part to help.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.