Prodigal Sons and Daughters, the faith-based addiction recovery ministry located in Turlock, has hit a bump in the road this summer. The organization is in dire need of funds so that it can continue to help those facing addiction struggles, and its asking the community for help.
Operated entirely off community donations, the ministry tends to reach a low point when it comes to funding over the summer – something that Board of Directors President Neill Callis is trying to change.
“We’re trying to take some different approaches to instituting a mid-year fundraising campaign,” said Callis.
Along with the annual summer slump in funds, Prodigal Sons and Daughters took another hit to their finances when it was discovered that former Executive Director Mike Hibdon had improperly used organizational funds. According to Callis, Hibdon accepted full responsibility for misusing the funds for personal use, and resigned as Executive Director.
In a letter addressed and sent to members “of the extended Prodigals family,” supporters were informed that Hibdon has since repaid nearly half of the funds and has signed an agreement to fully repay Prodigal Sons and Daughters by the end of 2018.
Although Callis made it clear that Hibdon was not solely responsible for the ‘ current financial crisis, he did emphasize the fact that “every dollar counts.”
While the organization does have multiple fundraisers planned, such as a community barbecue in September and art auction in October, that money is months away. This doesn’t bode well for Prodigal Sons and Daughters, which operates on a budget of between $180,000 and $250,000 a year.
“There’s a sort of ‘giving fatigue’ because it’s the same group of people in Turlock giving to all of these worthy organizations,” said Callis.
Prodigal Sons and Daughters helps an average of 500 individuals per month in their journey to sobriety. Without funding, the services that the ministry provides – one-on-one counseling, group meetings, art therapy, teen drug education and more – would not be possible, said Callis, and hours at the center would have to be cut.
The ministry’s recovery treatment revolves around faith, which Alcohol and Drug Counselor Joy Starr considers to be a defining characteristic of the organization’s rehabilitation plan.
“We believe that living a sober life is so much more than not drinking or not using the drug; it’s a heart transformation,” said Starr. “God heals that heart and makes that bond with us through that time because God loves us when we’re broken. It’s more than just the actions; it’s the heart we want to work on.”
“I won’t say we push it on anyone, but we do use it and talk about it whenever we can because spirituality is a very important part of treatment and we want people to recognize that,” said Jim Riley, Interim Executive Director and Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
Prodigal Sons and Daughters helps both adults and teens within the Turlock community, and is a drop-in center for local students who may struggle with addiction. The organization has partnered with the Turlock Unified School District so that when children at school get into addiction-related problems, they are referred to Prodigal for help.
“It’s a place for these guys and gals to come be safe and be with each other under adult supervision that’s not mom or dad,” said Callis.
Over the last three years, Prodigal Sons and Daughters has met with and helped over 70 children from within TUSD.
“We have a lot of cool success stories with these teens,” said Starr.
Callis, Starr and Riley hope that the organization can continue its success with the help of donations.
“As a resident of Turlock, you’re investing in the community when you donate,” said Riley.
Though there is currently no set date for the community barbecue fundraiser, the organization’s art auction will be held at the Carnegie Arts Center on Oct. 7 and will feature artwork from local artists, such as Kelly Viss. A letter fundraising campaign has kicked off, with letters being sent to supporters of the organization.
Those who would like to contribute to Prodigal Sons and Daughters’ efforts to keep its doors open have a few options: donations can be dropped off at the office, located at 340 Olive Ave., donations can be made on the organization’s GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/2gu857zg, or donations can be made using PayPal on the Prodigal Sons and Daughters website, www.prodigalsonsanddaughters.org.