Prodigal Sons and Daughters, the faith-based addiction recovery ministry located in Turlock, has launched an end of the year campaign in an effort to raise both awareness and support for the free services they provide. The campaign, “One Heart, One Mind, One Prayer,” hopes to raise enough revenue to keep the organization’s doors open for another year.
“We go one year at a time,” said Board of Directors President Neill Callis. “This campaign will lessen the need to raise money in the middle of the year. That’s the hope.”
In August, Prodigal was in dire need of money as it reached a low point in fundraising that tends to come with the summer months. The organization operates entirely off community donations, which can be hard to come by in the middle of the year.
“We’re in good shape now,” said Callis. “The community really stepped up to get us through that rough period.”
One community member who reached out to Prodigal over the summer was former Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Karin Moss, who helped the organization design the “One Heart, One Mind, One Prayer” campaign. Moss, who has helped nonprofits raise money in the past, and her expertise were warmly welcomed by the Prodigal staff.
“I can’t tell you enough about what a rock star she is,” said Callis. “Karin was able to come in and point us in the right direction, and this has had a benefit on our staff just from a morale perspective; suddenly, we’re not in this by ourselves.”
With a staff of four, Prodigal is able to help 900 people battling addiction each month and operates on a budget of approximately $220,000 per year. These funds pay for the building Prodigal calls home, as well as the employees who provide the organization’s services, such as one-on-one counseling, group meetings, art therapy and teen drug education, free of charge.
Throughout Prodigal’s existence, Callis said that many of the same donators have kept the building running. The “One Heart, One Mind, One Prayer” campaign aims to raise awareness about the good work that the organization does throughout the community by reaching out to thousands of community members through mailers, informing them of the services Prodigal provides and how they can help contribute. It is Callis’ hope that Prodigal will be able to receive more donations from more people, rather than the same core group of benefactors that have supported them so far.
“We’re trying to build a sustaining giving culture, not just the end of the year donations you see around Christmas time – everyone’s got their tin cups out right now,” said Callis. “It’s about letting people in Turlock know that we’re here and we’ve got an awesome team who has a heart for this kind of work.”
Prodigal hosts an average of 15 teenagers a day through its Teen Activity Center, which provides a safe place for teens to go after school where they can avoid temptation. Prodigal also provides counseling for children who are first-time drug policy violators within the Turlock Unified School District through their Tactical Intervention Program, reaching an average of 30 students a month. The organization also reaches dozens of clients every month thanks to its Art Therapy program, and hosts 12 different volunteer-led support groups.
“All kinds of people volunteer here, and we’re grateful for that,” said Interim Executive Director Jim Riley. “Without the volunteers, funds and support from the community, we wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open.”
During the holiday months, it’s especially important that Prodigal is able to provide their services to those suffering with addiction. The organization sees an influx of clients during the winter, said Riley.
“People get depressed because of the rain, the weather and they might not have a family,” said Riley. “That adds to the depression. They want someone to talk to, and here we are.”
“It’s a sad time of the year for a lot of people,” added Callis. “It’s not always joyous.”
For those who do find their way into Prodigal seeking help, the organization supports them in whatever way they can, whether it be by simply talking to them or helping them get additional help. Riley once spent four hours with a client, he said, helping her make phone calls in order to get admitted into an inpatient rehabilitation center.
“We will do everything we can to help them achieve their success in recovery,” said Riley. “We don’t just leave them hanging.”
The organization is always in search of volunteers who can help with the day-to-day operations of the facility or simply spend time with clients. Many volunteers will share a talent with the clients, such as guitar playing, poetry, knitting, cooking and more.
Those who would like to donate can visit www.prodigalsonsanddaughters.org, or send donations to P.O. Box 3303, Turlock, CA 95380. Community members interested in volunteering at Prodigal Sons and Daughters may stop by their location, 352 E. Olive Ave., in Turlock or call 209-634-3538.
“Everybody has a story,” said Callis. “It’s never too late for anybody, and that’s what this organization is about.”