C.F. McDowell, Burnett Coleman, Andy Anderson and Mr. Steen
After a decade of planning, praying, fundraising and building, the Matthew 25 Center at Tabor City will open Saturday, April 27, board chairman Burnett Coleman said Wednesday.
An opening ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., followed by an open house until 5 p.m.
The house will serve as a home away from home for families making visits to any of the 4,000 or more prisoners incarcerated in Columbus, Robeson, Bladen, Brunswick and Horry counties. Groundbreaking occurred on the site at 3899 Swamp Fox Hwy. in August, and a host of local and non-local volunteers carried out the construction of the building.
Coleman said the house is now furnished and “ready for occupancy,” the parking lot has been paved and a sign will soon be installed where it will be visible from the road.
Officials at the prisons have been “very supportive” of the center, said Coleman. “They’ve been handing out flyers to the inmates for them to share with their families.”
Michael and Janet Brooks are serving as directors of the facility. In addition to overseeing the operations of the house, they will provide counseling and support to inmates’ families and they will be available to give presentations to churches and civic groups.
“We need a lot of volunteers,” Coleman said. The ministry’s website, www.matt25tc.com, lists volunteer opportunities including guest registration, housekeeping, meal preparation, promotion, ongoing fundraising, sending letters to prisoners’ families, and joining in on monthly worship services.
The directors hope volunteers will eat dinner with Matthew 25 guests, show friendship to them and “listen, listen, love, love,” the website says.
The site specifically says that children are welcome to come to the center along with their volunteering parents. By playing with the visiting children they will make the away-from-home experience more welcoming and fun.
Matthew 25’s website provides a video tour of the house. Prospective helpers are urged to call Janet Brooks at 843-214-0995 about any questions or volunteering opportunities. Her email isJbrooksjapan@gmail.com.
The site also asks for donations of cleaning supplies, snack foods, toiletries and some furniture items such as four white rocking chairs and a child-size table and four chairs.
Anyone who wants to donate funds to the project can reach Burnett Coleman at 910-840-5226 or email at email@example.com. Secretary Joyce Mauldin of Whiteville is reachable at 770-0706. Tax-deductible checks can be mailed to Matthew 25 Project, P.O. Box 313, Tabor City, N.C. 28463.
Board and officers
The Matthew 25 board of directors held an annual meeting February 12 at Joe’s Barbecue in Whiteville.
Superior Court Judge Doug Sasser attended and administered oaths of office to the following five newly elected members of the board of directors:
Andy Anderson of Whiteville and Loris is lead pastor of Father’s Cup Overflow Ministries in Longs, S.C. Ronald Floyd of Green Sea, S.C., is retired from the U.S. Postal Service and currently serves on the Horry County Cooperative Board of Directors. Austin Long of Green Sea is pastor of Gapway Baptist Church in Tabor City. Michael Shaw of Chadbourn is retired from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. Matthew Smith of Tabor City is battalion chief of Horry County Fire and Rescue.
Five current board members were re-elected for three-year terms; they are Carolyn Chestnut of Tabor City, Milton Coleman of Shallotte, Johnny Edwards of Fair Bluff, Ronnie Jones of Tabor City and Alan Thompson of Whiteville.
Burnett Coleman, Ronnie Jones and Joyce Mauldin took oaths as chairman, vice-chairman and secretary.
Nominating committee members are Dalton Dockery of Whiteville, Shep Oliver of Marietta, Brenda Jolly of Hallsboro and Sonya Norris of Tabor City.
Guests at the board meeting included Margaret Jones, Mary Coleman, Dave Heller, Doris Dees, Jose Dees, Vickie Sasser, Gail Oliver and Kay Coleman.