September 2020 Newsletter
Thanks Be To God For The Successful Store Opening!
Loaves and Fishes opened the new Thrift Store at 1710 Live Oak Street (in the old Walgreen’s) in a record three weeks. Thanks to an enthusiastic community and really great merchandise donations, we set record sales. After the first month, the new store has far exceeded our initial projections.
Hey, isn’t that the way God works? We prayed about the opportunity; we budgeted and worked through what we thought it would take; but the key – we felt called by God that this was the right move for Loaves and Fishes, even with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the economy.
We went forward on faith. Many people blessed us. The landlord gave favorable lease terms and Walgreen’s donated all the displays and fixtures. Walgreen’s donation saved us thousands of dollars in r display costs. Having the displays reduced the store opening time by months. The men in the Loaves and Fishes program worked long hours to make this happen. A mere “Thanks” to everyone seems hardly enough.
If you would like to volunteer in the Thrift Stores, come in and ask for Jonathan or leave a message at 252-504-0123.
Why Do People Relapse?
That’s a question we hear people ask often. The National Institutes of Heath’s studies (NIH.gov) show that addicts often relapse numerous times. Stanford University Medical School found that 40% to 60% of addicts relapse at least once. What the statistics are is not as important as recognizing why relapse occurs, dealing with the addictive behavior and avoiding the “triggers” for a lifetime. Here are a few aspects of relapse and recovery:
“Triggers” – A “trigger” of addiction involves any high-risk situation or stressor that produces a thought, feeling or action to use drugs and/or alcohol and relapse. Whatever the hurt or emotion which contributed to addiction, relapse can occur because of “revisiting” or suffering those old emotions, abuse and conditions again. Returning to “old friends and places” where the addiction occurred can be a deadly trigger also. Even after years, addicts seek relief by returning to addiction, forgetting the pain and suffering it caused. Other triggers include the stresses of trying to restart your life. Finding a job which pays enough. Making amends with family. Making new friends. And paying off fines, court costs and attorney fees resulting from addiction. Avoiding the triggers day in and day out for a lifetime is critical.
Time required to get well and adopt new lifestyles. Many short-term programs just are not long enough to change addictive behavior for many addicts. Sometimes, men can make this transition in six months or maybe less. But most need far longer and family finances and insurance run out. It takes time to learn how to deal with the triggers through group and individual counselling; to take better care of yourself and then learn how to live a new sober lifestyle long term. Being idle is the devil’s opening. Men at Loaves and Fishes have group and individual therapy and Bible study in the mornings and work in the Thrift store in afternoons. Several times per week they are involved in Calvary Baptist Church’s group activities.
While the men are not paid, their labor such as prepping merchandise, helping customers and working in the food bank – pays for their total treatment costs. This is a ministry of Jesus Christ. Families and men that do not have the means to pay can be part of the program at no cost.
Lack of an addiction support system. When addicts leave a program, they need the continual support from their church or a faith-based program. Unfortunately, many recovering addicts live alone and they are isolated. The Loaves and Fishes program is a group program. They live in houses together and learn to interact, be in relationship with others and be responsible to others. The program is Christ based. At the core is prayer, service to others, Bible study, church and fellowship activities. They are part of a new family that loves them. When they transition out, the importance of a strong support network is crucial to not relapsing.
Stress, revisiting old friends and places, mentally revisiting or experiencing the hurt or abuse of the past as well as lack of a continual addiction support system are a few of the reasons for relapse. We pray daily for those recovering from addiction that they become healthier and able to live a fulfilling, productive life.
If you or a friend are seeking help after detox, please consider Loaves and Fishes.
Help us treat more men. The number of men we can help is solely a function of donations and Thrift Store sales. Pray about this and consider donating on a monthly basis. Thanks.
Backpack Blessings Celebrates 10 Years Of Serving Children
The Backpack Blessings Ministry of Loaves and Fishes provides supplemental weekend food to about 135 Carteret County students during the school year.
It is a celebration of community and the way that people from every walk of life, from churches all over the community, from service organizations and businesses have responded in so many different ways to say “we are in this together.”
Public health and university surveys of Carteret County have shown a “food scarcity index” between 15% and 20% in the last decade. That is the percent of the County population that lacks sufficient food.
10 years ago, a savvy counselor at Beaufort Elementary saw the need to provide supplemental, weekend food to children in need. Though Loaves and Fishes was fledgling at the time and barely had the resources to manage a food shelf and soup kitchen, the teacher had vision to bring the community together to serve children whose families needed help.
Backpack Blessings is operating in these COVID conditions. Some food goes out on school buses; other times the food is taken to central meeting points. This year we took on one more school. Usage system wide is already up. The important thing is that the food is available and ready whenever there is a call for it to be brought to the school. The teacher and school counselor maintain confidentiality.
Growing together in His grace and love is the richest of experiences this side of heaven. This is the life God has called us to.
We want to extend our program where needed. 100% of donations go to buying food – there is no overhead. For more information about how you, your service organization or business can donate and participate, contact Pege Jennings, Volunteer, 252-503-3165. Loaves and Fishes is a registered public charity as a 501 (C) (3). All donations to our ministries are tax deductible. Donations can be made on our website at www. https://loavesandfishesnc.org.