Presbyterians Today

FEB-MAR 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 33 and employment opportunities. When Diretha joined the Front Porch community five years ago, she had been sober and drug-free for a year, but a decade of unemploy- ment threatened the sustainability of her success. She volunteered at the cafe and attended its support groups. The staff helped her develop a resume and interviewing skills. These efforts helped Diretha land a job at a catering company, where she has worked for four years. Today, she continues to live a life free from alcohol and drug abuse. One Great Hour of Sharing gifts contributed to Diretha's transfor- mation. SDOP made a grant that helped renovate and equip the building that houses the cafe after Eastminster Presbytery's SDOP Committee selected the project for funding. SDOP partners with economically poor and oppressed people in projects these communi- ties control, own and benefit from directly. The Front Porch Cafe is part of South Street Ministries, which serves youth and adults in one of Akron's poorest and most racially diverse neighborhoods. "We get people from the church, the recovery world and the neigh- borhood who come in just for a place to gather," said Joe Tucker, South Street Ministries' executive director. By purchasing one of the Front Porch's reasonably priced meals, neighborhood patrons support its witness to hope. "We give people a lot of hope and redirection," Tucker said. "We tell people, 'Hey, look, half of our staff are in recovery or in re-entry themselves — we know what it's like. What you are wanting to do is absolutely doable. We believe in Christ and we will pray with you.'" Diretha continues to attend a support group at the Front Porch and its weekly worship service. "If I hadn't gotten involved with the Front Porch, there is a chance I would have started using again and been in prison or even died," Diretha said. In Puerto Rico, Uganda, Ohio and other places across the United States and around the world, Presbyterians and their partners are involved in transformational ministries. Their long-term and holistic approach is possible because of gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing. Pat Cole is a communications specialist with the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Last year was a challenging one with several major hurricanes and wildfires. One Great Hour of Sharing gifts made it possible for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance workers to bring not only much-needed supplies to areas hit by natural disasters, but to bring hope and hugs as well. LEARN MORE Learn more about the One Great Hour of Sharing offering by visiting

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