JOPLIN, Mo. — Restored Ministries, a Joplin outreach program, focuses on offering resources and guidance to those struggling with addiction or experiencing homelessness.
The group is “designed to befriend the broken outside of the church walls,” according to their Facebook page. It aims to heal lives and help others in ways it believes the church should.
“Our goal is to restore the brokenness in homeless and addicted people,” said Restored Ministries Vice President Eric Manning.
Currently, the group is providing resources and support to those in need through a weekly program called “Restored at the Park.”
Restored Ministries had this year’s first event on Sunday, April 11 at 2 p.m at Ewert Park, located at 846 Murphy Blvd in Joplin. Every Sunday, the group teams up with area churches, small businesses and other groups to provide a meal, build relationships and more. These events take place every Sunday at 2 p.m. from April 11 to November 28.
“First we go out and we love on people… Pray with people, ask them how they’re doing, build relationships,” said Manning. “We build relationships with these people. We feed them. And then we bring a message of hope.”
Not only will Restored Ministries feed the community, the group also wants to help people acquire I.D.s and social security cards for employment and teach money budgeting, providing hope for the future.
“Bringing that hope to these people and giving them something to hold on to, to hope for, can really change their lives,” said Manning.
The group began offering Restored at the Park about five years ago. Last year, the group helped a community member get an apartment.
“If I can reach one person a year and change their life, then me going out every week is absolutely worth it,” said Manning.
Restored Ministries is currently in need of sponsors for eight weeks of park ministries this year. Grace Chapel Outreach of Joplin is sponsoring eight of the events.
“They [Grace Chapel Outreach] bring games, they make an afternoon of it,” said Manning.
Manning believes his own life experiences and the experiences of others in the group can help Restored Ministries help others.
Manning battled addiction for 17 years and experienced homelessness, so he knows what it’s like to be on the other side. He has been sober for three and a half years and hopes to inspire others with his recovery.
“Somebody that’s never had any hardships or never lived in addiction… They can reach a certain demographic of people. We go out and these people can see we’ve been in addiction, we’ve been homeless… So it’s really about giving them hope, self worth,” he said.
Manning says that addiction and mental health issues are some of the top struggles the homeless population faces.
“They all go hand in hand,” he said.
To help heal this cycle, Restored Ministries plans to open two recovery houses – one for addiction and one for poverty.
The recovery houses will be used to help guests recover, teach them how to manage their money, provide coping skills to deal with addiction outside of the program and more.
“There’s a lot of recovery houses in the area. The problem is that those recovery houses get you through six months or a year of sobriety and that’s the end of it. Getting sober is the easy part, it’s once you leave those programs, do you have the tools to stay sober?” asked Manning.
The group is currently working on securing funds and buildings. To help fund the project, Restored Ministries is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday June 5 at Carterville First Baptist Church. The fundraiser will include various auctions. All proceeds will go toward the recovery houses. The group hopes to have one of the recovery houses open by the end of the year.
“It’s about coming together as the church should and being the hands and feet of Christ,” said Manning.