Lodi Knows How to Overcome Roadblocks
by Sarah L. Bentley –
Under the direction of Captains Alfred and Stella Parker (Lodi, Calif., corps officers) a ministry called “Overcoming Roadblocks” is helping restore people’s dignity and self worth.
The objective is to help participants identify and overcome situations– including welfare, depression, low income, alcoholism or drug addiction–that block them from being productive members of society.
Volunteer group leader Cindy Flaherty states many of the women who attend are Christians but, through unfortunate circumstances, have become lost and frustrated, causing them to lose sight of God.
Cindy says “I strive to demonstrate my Christianity and spiritual principles in words and actions in the belief that people in the group will see a difference. ‘Heart to God and Hand to Man’ is what attracted me to The Salvation Army and because of loving, Godly relationships with the people here, I was able to overcome my hardships. Now I want to help others do the same.”
Cindy emphasizes that a mutual care ministry has been the success of Overcoming Roadblocks. Through interaction and networking with each other, group members find the most help.
Each week, physical, emotional and unmet basic needs are addressed. How to obtain medical care, eye care and dental care, how to secure proper documentation for the entire family, and where to seek out assistance for domestic violence are all issues covered. Information on housing needs such as Section 8, HUD, shelters and housing programs is given.
The group is given assistance on budgeting, cooking and shopping. Even clothing is exchanged among the group – part of the mutual care aspect. A church in the community provides five outfits of clothing for the members of the group searching for work and for the job they obtain.
Captains Alfred and Stella Parker feel that this ministry is taking a proactive stance on the Welfare to Work program. They state “the cycle has to be stopped” and Overcoming Roadblocks is making headway in that cycle. Of the individuals and families assisted last year, 19 people secured jobs, three went to college, 42 are “doing better,” five families have received housing through supportive housing and 10 remain part of the group each week. God is blessing the efforts of everyone involved, and so there is evidence lives are being turned around.