GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Pastor John Sanders knew it was going to take more than another coat of paint to keep The Vineyard Transitional Center up and running.The building that houses in-need men …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Pastor John Sanders knew it was going to take more than another coat of paint to keep The Vineyard Transitional Center up and running.
The building that houses in-need men as they transition from a life of despair to a functioning member of the community, is in dire need of a makeover. He enlisted help from a contractor to find out how many more patches the building at 518 N. Pine Ave. would need.
At first, the news was heartbreaking to the Executive Director. The Vineyard needed to be torn down and rebuilt.
But now, the prospect of a fresh start has invigorated him and the rest of his team – Executive Secretary Joseph Smith, Director of Finance Rebecca M. Van de’water, Administrator Director Rhonda Ali, Director of Community Outreach Archa Tarfa and Chaplain David Jackson.
The challenge now is to raise between $450,000-$500,000. He knows it will take a lot of work, and he will call in a lot of favors. But he’s certain The Vineyard soon will be a beacon for those who need help.
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” Sanders said. “My whole thing from the beginning is we do a lot of fundraising. Once we tear the building down, everything will be done in a phase, like getting the concrete and getting the foundation down. I’ll be asking a lot of businesses and friends of mine, can you donate a yard of concrete?
“That’s how we’re going to get it done – asking the community to pitch in. I have the belief; I have faith people are going to step up and help us get it done.”
The Vineyard is more than a bed and three hot meals for men who have nothing. The 90-day program requires residents to attend life-skill training classes and counseling. Residents are required to maintain their rooms and the grounds. Smoking, alcohol and drugs are prohibited. Sanders said the program isn’t a handout. It’s a helping hand that allows residents to stand on their own feet.
“I don’t like to use the word homeless. It’s for anybody that’s in need that we can help give them a place to stay,” he said. “What’s going to happen is, if someone comes there, they’d stay at least 90 days to get back on their feet. We have life skills training for them.
Many of the residents have been men released from jail. Many don’t have a place to eat or sleep. Some lack the skills to find work. Other than returning to jail, The Vineyard has become the only option for some.
The transition center has been lauded by city officials and residents. The city council recently approved changing the zoning so Sanders can start the process of rebuilding – not only new walls but new lives.
“They have to go through all these different classes,” Sanders said. “If they stay there the whole 90 days, they will go through the entire program. It still has to be maintained.
“We have to have some rules.”
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