Fellowship House plans annual fundraising dinner

Staff Reports • Updated Oct 6, 2017 at 6:00 PM

The Fellowship House at 206 S. College St. in Lebanon will hold its fourth-annual fundraising dinner Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. in the East-West Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon. 

The Fellowship House is a halfway house for men in need of a place to stay and help to recover from drugs or alcohol addiction. In addition to providing a warm bed, hot showers, kitchen privileges, a living and meeting room and help finding a job, the house offers the needed structured life required for recovery. There are beds for up to 12 men. Residents are required to perform certain duties at the house, pay a modest rent once they find a job and attend at least one meeting a day. Regular unscheduled drug and alcohol tests are administered.

The Fellowship House also serves as a site for 22 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week and Bible study seven days a week. Meetings and Bible study are open to anyone who wants to attend. A church service is also held each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public. 

The transitional facility has quietly operated on South College Street for nearly three decades. Under the leadership of Eddie Evins, eight individuals contributed $2,500 each, and the original house was purchased. Since then, hundreds of men in need passed through the doors.

“We just need more room,” said board chairman David Denney. “The demands grows for the services we provide, and we need more beds, more meeting space and more parking.” 

In the end, the Fellowship House board bought four dilapidated adjacent houses. Three were demolished to make more space for parking. The fourth, bought earlier this year, needs to come down. 

“We need to demolish that fourth house and then partner with someone or some company in the construction business and build additional housing.” Denney said. “We bought the latest house before the price went up. We need the land and the housing. Now, we have to retire that debt and start a fund to cover our new construction. We could easily fill twice the number of beds we now have. One hundred percent of the money raised goes directly to the end. Not one of us takes a penny in compensation. All the money goes back into the Fellowship House.” 

Denney recently replaced longtime board chair Larry Locke, who recently stepped down due to health issues. 

“I have tremendous shoes to fill,” said Denney. “Dr. Locke did it all. But I felt we had to take a proactive stance. Land is not going to get any cheaper, and we badly need the space. Now, we badly need community to pay for it.”

The dinner will consist of fried catfish and chicken, white beans, cole slaw, onion rings, French fries, cooked apples, macaroni salad, plenty of desserts and tea or water. Admission is $25 per person for adults, and tickets are available in advance from Kris Warmath at the Fellowship House or at the door. All contributions, including dinner tickets, are 100-percent tax deductible.

The public is invited to attend and help defray the cost of repairs, expansion and operation of the community facility. 

“Come make an investment in Lebanon. We will feed you better than your momma did,” said Denney.

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