DIM THRIFT STORE
DIM ZOE ARTESIAN WATER BOTTLING CO.
March 2007, DIM opened a 10 bed Homeless Shelter/Transitional Home designed to assist with job placement, case management, and other social services for single adult men, women, veterans and ex-felons.
Support services (i.e., employment,substance abuse workshop, physical health services, financial assistance and counseling, family reunification and assistance in accessing benefits such as social supplement benefits, and veteran compensation)
We administeed HUD's Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) program which is designed to provide financial assistance and services to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless and help those who are experiencing homelessness to quickly be re-housed and stabilized.
Through our Community Partner Montgomery Area
Food Bank we have distribute over 500,000 pounds
of food to the elderly, children, veterans, homeless
and poor in Central Alabama.
Next Step - Hawthorne Project:
April 2010, DIM was gifted a 3500 square foot boarded-up apartment building in Tuskegee, Alabama to renovate and create space for 8 to 12 beds.When we secure the funds necessary to renovate this building, our current capacity will increase from 10 beds up to 22 beds.We will also increase the percentage of people moving from transitional housing to permanent housing.
Divine Inspirational Restoration House extends assistance to men and women in addressing life’s challenges such as:
A HAND UP, NOT HAND OUT!!
Local ministry giving second chances
By JEFF THOMPSON
Managing Editor (The Tuskegee News) Updated Sep 18, 2008 - 06:25:51 EDT
Pastor Rodney Thornton of Divine Inspirational Ministries poses with participants in his church's Divine House ministry, a program that helps break people from a life of drug abuse. From left are Greg Ellington, Pastor Thornton, Jennifer Daniel, William Gantt, Charles Willis and Brenda Holmes.
In the kitchen of a 2005 FEMA trailer on Highway 199 in Macon County, Jennifer Daniel has two hot dogs boiling in a pot, a whole chicken dethawing in the sink and a pot of stew on the stove.
The trailer is perfectly clean, all beds are made and all modern amenities are available -- washer, dryer, cable TV, internet and a security system.
There is no indication anywhere that Daniel and her two female roommates are in a program to help rehabilitate them from a life of drugs.
“It’s a wonderful program,” Daniel said. “It’s helped me tremendously and inspired me to make so much progress.
“It’s the only program like this in Tuskegee that’s given me a chance to feel loved.”
Rodney Thornton, 55, is pastor of Divine Inspirational Ministries, located between Daniel’s current home and Highway 199. Daniel and nine other formerly-homeless individuals chained to drug abuse are all part of Thornton’s vision of community service -- a vision he said is handed down by God and is taking place with sole funding from donations and his own pocket.
Thornton and his staff of six volunteers and three assistant pastors call this program the Divine Restoration House. It’s located on church property and consists of two -- soon to be three -- FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) trailers and one house that can shelter individuals while they attempt to turn their lives around.
Thornton said about 85 percent of the people who have been through the program needed help with an addiction to crack cocaine. Most of the others were accepted for alcohol abuse.
Divine’s goal is that participants in the program develop a personal relationship with Christ, become gainfully employed, reunite with their families and spread the gospel of Jesus.
Once participants in the program are clean, stable and can take care of themselves, the program also offers employment options through Auburn University’s Event Operation Group and other organizations. Thornton said the program has helped attain employment for more than 30 people.
Greg Ellington, a bright resident of the Divine House with graying facial hair and a contagious smile, has reached that plateau.
“I’m cleaned up, closer to the Lord and get along better with everyone,” said Ellington, a four-month resident. “I’m working now, I have a good job. I don’t want it to end.
“If you need to get your life right, this is where you need to come.”
The program has existed quietly for more than two years at Divine Inspirational Ministries, which was known as Step’s Grocery Store for many years before. Thornton, who was a Captain in the Alabama Department of Corrections for 25 years and served in both the Vietnam War and in Iraq in 2003, used knowledge he gained as a contractor and, with the help of family and friends, added 10,000 square feet of space to the old building.
Now, Step’s is completely refurbished with a quaint sanctuary and home to a congregation of about 40, said Divine’s Assistant Pastor Lavonne Martin. And it was all done with no official church building fund.
Martin said that a building fund has always been one of the most popular ways for a church to obtain monies to rebuild or expand facilities. But Thornton’s motto, “With a vision, comes provision,” has worked so far.
“His desire was to start somewhere with only what the Lord had already blessed him with,” Martin said.
Thornton, though, said he’s approximately $80,000 in debt after refurbishing the store and house and buying two trailers. He’s hesitant to admit that daunting number, but it hasn’t slowed his efforts down.
“We make our monthly payments,” Thornton said. “People donate solely into the ministry. People who have recovered from substance abuse hear about what we’re doing and just show up with a check -- usually right when we need it. I am constantly amazed at how God just makes it happen.”
Thornton began a food bank in 2006 that gave away more than 15,000 pounds of food monthly in 2008. In all, after a brief debate between Martin and Thornton, the pair of philanthropists decided the food bank, which is now mobile, has likely given away more than 200,000 pounds of food since its inception.
Also this year, Divine Inspirational donated shoes and toys to the community and organizations like the Tuskegee Safe Haven and safety swimming gear to Henderson Park.
Thornton has taken at-risk students to visit the prison where he retired as a captain after 25 years, Divine’s daycare center is slated to open this week.
Thornton said his vision is to one day have a building to house 50 to 100 victims of substance abuse for his Divine Inspirational House ministry, and he wants to make it perfectly clear that when it happens it won’t be a waste of space.
“I’m not going to build a 15,000 square-foot building that only has people in it on Wednesday and Sunday,” Thornton said. “These big churches are all closed during the week, wasting space that could be used to help people. So long as I have the room I’ll use it do do whatever God wants.”
Some of the services offered at Divine are: a weekly worship service at 11 a.m. on Sundays; a Friends and Family Day with dinner served on every third Sunday of the month; a12-Step Hunger for Healing Group on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. and a Bible study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
Martin said the community is invited to worship and fellowship at Divine Inspirational Ministries. Pastor Thornton has declared this ministry to be “The City of Divine,” building a church to build the people.
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