Relieving Wilmington homelessness requires working together with singleness of heart, says Sandlin


Sandlin: Requires working together

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



In the foreground standing left Wilmington First Christian Church Pastor Tom Stephenson talks with Wilmington City Councilman Mike Snarr, seated.

In the foreground standing left Wilmington First Christian Church Pastor Tom Stephenson talks with Wilmington City Councilman Mike Snarr, seated.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left at the event are Greg, Kaleb Holcomb and Jason Hollingsworth.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

In the foreground from left are Sugartree Ministries volunteer Amy Volz, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin, and Wilmington College instructor Katie Wright.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Interacting and networking were key aims for “Communion: A Forum on Homelessness”.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left are Clinton County Health Commissioner Pamela Walker Bauer, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin, and Clinton County Health Department Director of Nursing Monica Wood.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

At the Sunday event from left are Jack Steed, who presently is homeless, and Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — About 100 people were at Sugartree Ministry Center for an informal Sunday evening event named “Communion: A Forum on Homelessness”.

There was a cross-section of individuals present, including those who are served by Sugartree Ministries, interested citizens, a number of church leaders, and several public officials.

“I’m very grateful to all who took time out of their busy schedules to come and break bread with us to build a stronger community. We know that to better serve our brothers and sisters in need, it will require God’s guidance and everyone working together with a singleness of heart,” Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin said Monday.

Prior to a free meal of soup and sandwiches Sunday, Sandlin recommended the following approach: “Let’s not talk about each other; let’s talk to each other.”

He went on to say there already had been a win that evening when two attendees spoke with each other “about how to help, how to serve, how to love.”

Allen Willoughby, Sugartree Ministries’ prior director, gave the prayer before the meal. In it he expressed gratitude for a community where churches pull together to help the homeless, poor and sick, including the homeless shelters and other places in town reaching out to help people.

In a News Journal interview to publicize the Communion event, Sandlin had indicated he was pleased to hear a person say at a prior meeting that they don’t want to move the problem of homelessness, they want to solve it.

In that same interview, Sandlin mentioned social media criticism of Sugartree Ministries that he said stereotypes people served by the street ministry as the lazy and those who feel entitled.

“The truth is that’s not our folks. Our people have fractured lives, mental illness. They need to be triaged and healed,” said Sandlin.

He added in his capacity as Sugartree Ministries director, he has hardly met any people who are able-bodied and yet choose not to work.

Instead, those receiving services at Sugartree Ministry Center need rehabilitation and counseling, he said.

Public officials spotted at the homelessness event Sunday included Wilmington City Councilman Mike Snarr, Wilmington police officer Josh Gibson, Wilmington Parks & Recreation Director Jermaine Isaac, two Clinton County Health Department officials including Health Commissioner Pamela Walker Bauer and Director of Nursing Monica Wood, and Clinton County Municipal Judge Mike Daugherty.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

In the foreground standing left Wilmington First Christian Church Pastor Tom Stephenson talks with Wilmington City Councilman Mike Snarr, seated.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_stephenson_snarr_p.jpgIn the foreground standing left Wilmington First Christian Church Pastor Tom Stephenson talks with Wilmington City Councilman Mike Snarr, seated. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left at the event are Greg, Kaleb Holcomb and Jason Hollingsworth.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_three_guys_p.jpgFrom left at the event are Greg, Kaleb Holcomb and Jason Hollingsworth. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

In the foreground from left are Sugartree Ministries volunteer Amy Volz, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin, and Wilmington College instructor Katie Wright.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_rr_trax_p.jpgIn the foreground from left are Sugartree Ministries volunteer Amy Volz, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin, and Wilmington College instructor Katie Wright. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Interacting and networking were key aims for “Communion: A Forum on Homelessness”.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_food_area_p.jpgInteracting and networking were key aims for “Communion: A Forum on Homelessness”. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

From left are Clinton County Health Commissioner Pamela Walker Bauer, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin, and Clinton County Health Department Director of Nursing Monica Wood.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_health_dept_p.jpgFrom left are Clinton County Health Commissioner Pamela Walker Bauer, Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin, and Clinton County Health Department Director of Nursing Monica Wood. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

At the Sunday event from left are Jack Steed, who presently is homeless, and Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/11/web1_steed_p.jpgAt the Sunday event from left are Jack Steed, who presently is homeless, and Sugartree Ministries Director Lee Sandlin. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
Sandlin: Requires working together

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com