Taylorsville furniture manufacturer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Inc. has challenged the community to match or exceed the company’s $10,000 gift to Exodus Homes, a private, nonprofit United Way agency that provides faith-based supportive housing to homeless recovering men and women who return to the community from treatment centers and prison.
“Gold and Williams have stepped up for the past seven years with a gift in the summer when revenues and expenses collide in a serious cash flow crunch because of insurance renewals and other operating expenses that come due all at the same time,” said the Rev. Susan Smith Walker, Exodus Homes’ assistant director.
The relationship between Hickory’s Exodus Homes and Gold and Williams began years ago, when Exodus executive director, the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, approached Gold and Williams for a contribution. Gold said a person representing his and Williams’ company visited Exodus Homes, as is always done when a charitable organization asks Gold and Williams for a donation. That person returned excited about having met Longcrier and the Exodus Homes residents as well as having been introduced to the Exodus program.
“He said, ‘I think you really need to see this,’” said Gold, who did just that. “I was just blown away.” Gold said he saw happiness on the residents’ faces, satisfaction that comes from putting in a day’s work, being valued and having a support system.
Gold and Williams made a contribution that year and then continued the relationship with Exodus. As their friendship with Longcrier and Walker increased and their respect for the nonprofit grew, so did their annual donation until a few years ago when they began giving $10,000 and challenging businesses and individuals to match the gift.
“Exodus is truly a welcoming and affirming environment for everyone, which is why Bob and I love this organization,” said Gold. “Bob and I know many of the residents and applaud their tremendous efforts to be self-supporting.”
“These are people who for the most part did not start life with good support and have almost never had the proper support system to keep them out of trouble,” Gold continued. “Because we feel lucky to have had that support all our lives, we think it is our responsibility to help these folks and give them the break they so desperately need to succeed and get ahead.”
“The annual Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Inc. Challenge has been a faithful bridge that brings us over the financial dog days of summer, and we are deeply grateful for their help,” Longcrier.
Walker said Exodus Homes is able to generate two-thirds of its annual budget from resident fees and its own enterprise, Exodus Works! All who live at Exodus Homes are required to pay their own way, a hand up rather than handout approach. Some residents find employment at area businesses.
Others hold jobs at Exodus Works!, a drug-free, supervised labor force that works with the public. They maintain lawns, provide residential and commercial moving, paint, wash and detail vehicles, and do odd jobs. Residents also work at the Exodus Homes thrift store at 510 First Ave. S.W. in Hickory.
Both Gold and Walker pointed out that Exodus Homes benefits the community as well as its clients. Exodus residents become productive, tax-paying citizens rather than repeat offenders or relapsed addicts. “Mitchell Gold believes that every gift produces a great return on investment by helping homeless recovering people learn a new way to live,” said Walker.
Gold said that he was disappointed in the lack of philanthropic work among local businesses. His challenge is to them and to individuals, not only to donate to Exodus Homes, but also to open their eyes and wallets to worthy causes. Gold concluded, “If people want a healthy and safe community, we all have to participate in helping make that a reality,”
Mary Canrobert is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Mary? Email her at email@example.com.
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