Friday, September 12, 2014

OCS blessed with good news and a new name: Freedom Place Drop-In Center

By Elizabeth Morgan

The facility formerly known as the Orofino Clean and Sober (OCS) Drop-In Center received a generous amount of tender loving care Sept. 6, as a group of 15 volunteers from both New Bridges Community Church and OCS spent the day organizing, cleaning and painting.

For the past few years, Orofino Clean and Sober Drop-In Center on Johnson Ave. has struggled to provide the community with a safe and alcohol free environment to “hang out.” They opened their doors to those in recovery so they might have a place to meet, play pool, socialize and put their lives back together.

As time went on, the cost to rent, heat, and maintain the facility became more and more difficult. In the attempt to keep the facility open, numerous fundraisers were held and the public was invited to hold other activities in the building for a small fee.

Still, the non-profit organization was in jeopardy of closing as the economy and limited funds were falling short of making ends meet. If the center was to remain open something short of a miracle would need to take place.

And it did.

The owners of the building, John and Judy Gilliam, reached out to Pastor Matt Potratz of New Bridges Community Church. They had heard that the church had been reaching out in various ways to help the community and asked if a meeting could be arranged between the Board of Directors for OCS and the church to see if there might be a way to keep the facility open.

Over the course of a few meetings and working together, a new plan evolved. It seems that more than a few prayers have been answered.

New Bridges Community Church will rent the building to use for various community events. OCS will be allowed to continue to meet there and use the facility as needed, free of charge. The public and those in recovery will still have an alcohol and drug free environment to convene. The facility will receive a little more attention, as a fresh coat of paint and a fresh start for all will hopefully encourage more activity and participation from the community.

The name will change from Orofino Clean and Sober Drop-In Center to Freedom Place Drop-In Center. Throughout the transition, the doors will remain open and the hours will stay pretty much the same as they are now.

The center is open to the public; anyone is welcome to “Drop-In” and hang out. Food and beverages are available to purchase daily, at very affordable prices. The center will also be available to rent for birthday or retirement parties, wedding receptions, etc., for a nominal fee.

“Have you ever wondered why that often the only place to hear live music or sing karaoke is in a bar?” asked Potratz. “We’re not there to preach or push a religious agenda,” he explained. “At times there may be bands playing Christian music, but other forms of music and entertainment will be offered as well. We’ll be there to love people and encourage them. After all, isn’t that what Jesus would do?”

Additional help is always encouraged and much needed. Anyone interested in volunteering with cleanup, restoration, and/or as daily help running the center would be performing a great service to our community. For questions, or more information, please contact Matt Potratz at (208) 791-7230, or by email at: Mattp@newbridgeschurch .com

Matt Potratz, Pastor for New Bridges Community Church in Orofino, helps to paint the interior of the building for Freedom Place Drop-In Center. As lunchtime approached, he was seen slaving over the grill out back, assuring his hardworking crew a tasty lunch, while others brought side dishes to accompany the meal.

Ryan Glaze set to work with the pressure washer, as both the front and back of the building formerly known as Orofino Clean and Sober Drop-In Center, received a good cleaning. While Glaze worked outside, others were busy inside, cleaning and painting.

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