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Tons of Food
GNO received 19,098 pounds of food from Second Harvest of the Big Bend in January and 18,712 pounds In February for a total of 37,840 pounds of food. What a blessing to have them as partners, says Director of Operations Rebecca Howard. That’s the same as 50,413 cans (12-ounce) of food. Or, it’s about the same weight as 7 of the heaviest Hummers. That Hummer, the 2009 H3T Alpha, had a curb weight of 4,900 pounds, according to motorandwheels.com.
Good News Outreach provided 1,631 bags of groceries to feed 3,303 people during January and February. Of those, 1,958 received their food through the pantry and the other 1,345 received home deliveries. “I expect we will see more clients as the weather gets better,” said Rebecca Howard, whose job as director of operations includes managing the food services.
Florida Blue representatives dropped into the office on East Bradford Road on Feb. 24 to let people know about an opportunity to enroll for health insurance. They dropped off grocery tote bags and hand sanitizer for us to distribute! Our pantry volunteers were glad to show the swag.
Dale White uses his testimony to guide others
By Kennedy Smith
Outside of Mercy House
Dale White, the re-entry program manager of Mercy House at Good News Outreach, continues to be a catalyst for positive change in the community. Through his work at GNO and his personal testimony, White makes it his duty to help others escape the horrid fate of
re-incarceration and drug and alcohol abuse.
The need far exceeds to help available. Mercy House, Good News Outreach’s response to the need to help men make the transition from prison to society, has only 11 beds. The state’s prison system, however released 30,030 prisoners between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, according to the Department of Correction’s annual report. White’s been building his expertises to help those he can since his childhood.
Growing up, White said that he was raised in a good Christian home. He and his family went to church every Sunday. The family owned a large farm that shipped out 70 million pounds of tomatoes a year from South Florida. He described his parents as good people, who didn’t drink, do drugs or fight. His favorite memories from his childhood are of his family gatherings during the holidays and going camping and fishing on his dad’s cattle ranch.
At 14, White said his entire world turned upside down. His parents divorced and remarried to people that he did not get along with. White’s life began spiraling out of control, to cope with the pain. He started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. As a result of his abrupt behavior, he was sent to military school in 11th grade. While he was away, his stepdad began molesting his sister. By the age of 18, White was arrested twice on DUI charges, totaled two cars, was arrested for possession of weed with intent to distribute and his best friend hung himself.
White attended numerous treatment centers before he discovered Celebrate Recovery in Tallahassee and found what he was longing for, a relationship with God. He said that the people at Celebrate Recovery loved him back to health. He had finally found hope.
White could have continued to fall victim to his circumstances but through God he found solace. He set his focus on what was important.
“Today, it’s not about Dale anymore. It’s about what I can do to serve God today,” he said.
For almost 10 years, White has dedicated his life to helping men coming out of prison to navigate through their struggles.
“The biggest asset I have in my life today is the time I spent in prison! It gives my work credibility,” White said. “I have walked in the shoes of the formerly incarcerated and understand their challenges and struggles, their hurts and habits, their survival modes and their brokenness because I am one of them.”.
As of today, White has been clean for over nine years. He continues to be a positive light in the lives of formerly incarcerated men, helping them avoid the fate that he, with God’s help, escaped himself.
Dale Counseling a Client
Listen to Dale White talk about his tumultuous life at:
(Photos courtesy Crowson Photography)
GNO playing a role in prisoner reentry symposium
Director, Mercy House
Mercy House Director Dale White and GNO intern Olivia Hitchcock are participating in a free, online discussion April 10 about helping people reenter society after prison. White is a nationally recognized reentry expert and founder and CEO of Reentry Solutions Network. He will be one of seven panelists discussing how communities can help. Hitchcock covered crime for four years as a newspaper reporter and now works as a research technician for the Institute for Justice Research and Development. She is helping White review the programs at Mercy House. To register for the 10 a.m. symposium, use the "Register for the Event" button.
Former journalist sees a good story to tell others
Christ’s words and a Nigerian saying inspired me to become a Good News Outreach volunteer.
I’m Laura Ruane, newspaper journalist for more than 35 years.
I retired in early 2019 and moved to Tallahassee from the Fort Myers area with husband, Don Ruane, to live closer to several family members.
We learned of GNO and its ministries first through a food drive at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, where we are parishioners.
When Executive Director Donald Parks asked us to form GNO’s communications team, it felt like a good fit.
A journalist is called to community service through sharing information that potentially can motivate responsible decisions and actions.
I report on GNO ministries, and also help recruit interns through the journalism and PR programs at area colleges and universities.
I’m impressed by the diversity and depth of GNO’s ministries, which touch people of all ages and from many backgrounds. I want greater Tallahassee to know about GNO. I’m excited about the opportunities to expand services and to invite young and old to support GNO by sharing their time, talent and treasure.
My father died while I was still in my early teens. Neighbors and my church helped keep me on a good path.
I try to do the same through my writing and mentoring of young journalists.
I take seriously these words:
“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” — Luke 12:48
“It takes a village to raise a child.” — Igbo proverb
Please ask yourself: How is God calling me to share my resources with Good News Outreach?
“Sometimes you get lucky!” a grateful Isaac Brooks said as he received a microwave oven that will make it easier for him to prepare meals. He, Stephen Cordle and Casandra Lane and her daughter and nine other seniors living in one of the lowest-income areas of Tallahassee are receiving the ovens thanks to a grant awarded, Good News Outreach by the Florida Blue Foundation.
Casandra Lane & Daughter
Growing intern program provides growth in community assistance
By Alyssa Blake
“I love to change mindsets,” says Good News Outreach intern Marly Price. “A lot of people who end up in the system usually reoffend, from what statistics have shown, so prison and jail aren’t offering a therapeutic solution to help people get out of that mindset.”
Price, who is one of eight college students in an expanding internship program, is working with residents of Mercy House, the transition program operated by Good News Outreach for men returning to society after prison.
Price is part of a growing internship program shared by Good News Outreach and Emergency Care Help Organization. The two nonprofits are constantly expanding and offering exciting and new internship opportunities to college students. The current group represents Florida A&M, Florida State and Thomasville University. Both organizations consist of employees and interns who are dedicated to helping people in need regardless of race or other circumstances.
Olivia Hitchcock, Malia Beermann, Mallory Adams, Michael Peaden, and Marly Price are interning with GNO and ECHO. Alyssa Blake, Isabella Pfeiffer, and Kennedy Smith are completing internships with GNO’s communications program. Each intern has a range of responsibilities that include casework with individual clients and assisting them with their needs and desires for success. They all chose their internships for different reasons, but they all come together in hopes of contributing to the community.
Interns are able to gain hands-on experience while working at Maryland Oaks Crossing, said Daryl Jaquette, director of housing at Maryland Oaks Crossing, which gives lower-income families housing opportunities and assists them with building lifelong skills.
“There are different areas for interns to gain experience with interning here. Interns work with residents to help them with a myriad of problems, and that helps them gain well-rounded experience as well as a well-rounded internship,” Jaquette said. “The interns help people in many different areas and there are a lot of services that they have to connect residents with and also be willing to follow up with them.”
“Starting my internship with GNO, I was welcomed with open arms,” Price said. “I loved the mission statement and the programs that they have to help the community.”
Price spoke about the many ways that she has seen GNO put action behind its mission statement.
“We have a food pantry on Wednesdays and Thursdays that allows people to come and pick up food and resources. It amazes me how open they are to give resources to people throughout the community.” Price said.
Price has enjoyed her experience working with GNO so far and still has much that she hopes to learn.
“I’m hoping to gain more experience with case management, which is something that I recently started helping with at Mercy House,” Price said. “We’re getting the chance to help people meet these milestones that they want to achieve and that range from helping them receive an education to helping them find free transportation. Getting the hands-on experience with case management is important for me so that I know that when I meet with a client, I can provide them with what they need.”
Mallory Adams, a social work major at FSU, also is interning at Good News Outreach.
“Being able to talk to clients and help connect them with resources has been fulfilling,” Adams said.
The local issue of affordable housing is one of the reasons that Adams chose to work with this organization.
“I’m interested in affordable housing,” Price said. There’s a huge lack and also a huge need for affordable housing all over the world, but especially in Tallahassee because affordable housing has a direct link with homelessness.”
Adams shared that she is also focused on learning more about case management.
“I want to learn more about the case management side of things so that I can help clients form goals and connect them with the resources to help them achieve those goals,” Price said. “I want to help them explore their needs and the right goals for them because it’s really about helping them discover what their individual goals are.”
Aspiring interns should contact the executive director of Good News Outreach, Donald Parks at 850-412-0016 or donaldP@goodnewsoutreach.org. The communications internship contact is Don Ruane (239-464-3429 or firstname.lastname@example.org).