Ministry Trying to Recover

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Kodak, Sevier County (WVLT) - A Sevier County church is rebuilding it's drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry after the thrift store that funded it burned to the ground on Friday.

Once known as Maple Farms, the nearly 28,000 square foot facility burned to the ground Friday leaving many wondering how they'll fund their ministry.

But with a caring community, officials say they're optimistic they'll be able to continue doing god's work.

For people at New Hope Church's Thrift Store, Friday was a day hard to believe what they were seeing.

"When I heard the thrift store was on fire my heart just sank,” says Jerry Graham from New Hope Restoration House.

Officials say the store had been used to help fund the New Hope Restoration House which helps people with drug and alcohol addition.

"The lifestyle I had lived had torn me down and torn my family apart and now I'm fighting back,” says program intern Steven Knight.

With a burning building, funding of the program hung in the balance, and little hope.

"People began to walk up to me and say Brother Jerry this is going to be alright,” Graham says.

It wasn't a day later when Jerry Graham began to realize how a community was coming together for the ministry. "Everything that we have under the tent has been something that somebody has brought in the last few days and it's just continuing.”

Sue Crain brought some items because she feels their good work should continue. "It was going towards to help these people and the rehab they have here and I think that's a good thing when you can see something being done with the money that you're giving or things that you are doing."

The community's generosity is giving those who fought addictions another reason to fight, this time for the program.

"Unforseen circumstances can either set you back or you can use it as a stepping stone and move forward. That's what we plan on doing...stepping forward,” Knight says.

"God is always the God of more than enough. What we had there, I'm fully expecting to double or triple,” says Graham.

Graham says they anticipate they will continue to work under tents at their current location for about two weeks until they can find somewhere else.

Graham says those wishing to donate items can bring them to their temporary location where the original building burned or make a donation.


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