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A half-million-dollar capital campaign to fund the Matthew 25 Center of Tabor City is under way. Organizers say the project is off to an encouraging start.
While based in Tabor City, the project encompasses Brunswick County. Board members from both Columbus and Brunswick counties are working together to build the center.
“The Matthew 25 Center provides a home-like place for families to stay while visiting family members incarcerated in area jails,” explained Milton Coleman, Brunswick County board member. “The center will serve a five-county area. It is a residential facility for families of inmates.”
The center will be built in Tabor City near the Tabor Correctional Institution. The prison opened in September 2008 and has the capacity to house 1,500 close- and medium-custody inmates.
The need for a place for families of inmates to stay while they are visiting their loved ones arose almost immediately after the facility began operation.
The Matthew 25 Center will be a quarter of a mile from the correctional facility on 2 acres of land donated to the 501(c)3 charitable organization. The estimated cost of the facility and support of its first year of operation is $1.2 million.
Architectural designs for the center include a 5,160-square-foot building containing four bedrooms with a community kitchen, living room, playroom and office area, as well as a counseling room.
The facility will be staffed by a missionary couple. They will provide housekeeping and maintenance for the facility. A similar facility is currently in operation in Burgaw.
“The emphasis is to try to keep the family bond together,” Coleman said. “There is a narrow window of time.”
For a family to use the facility, they must first schedule an appointment through the correctional facility. Families would be provided a place to sleep for one or two nights.
“People with appointments will have the opportunity to have a place to stay. It is a gift from the church community,” said the Rev. John Causey, board member. “Folks must [live] at least 60 miles away.”
Causey explained many of the inmates housed at the Tabor City facility are from throughout the state. The Burgaw center has had visitors from more than 132 North Carolina cities, 24 states and five countries.
“We want to promote visitation by providing a free place to stay,” Coleman said.
Causey said Matthew 25 is a reminder of the way Jesus wanted people to treat others.
“ ‘I was in prison and you visited me’,” Causey recited from scripture. “That family is as much incarcerated as the relative.”
In July, the Matthew 25 Center of Tabor Center board received news that the Bob Barker Company Foundation based in Fuquay Varina was offering a $100,000 challenge grant to the capital campaign.
Requirements are for the organization to secure funding of $300,000 from other sources within three years.
The board is now seeking the help of communities the Matthew 25 Center would serve. Area churches and civic organizations have offered their services in the future.
“We would like to build it as soon as possible,” said Bill Landis, board member.
The board understands there is a long way to go but feels the mission of the center is worthy of the undertaking. All gifts are tax-deductible and may be pledged outright or pledged throughout a period of up to three years.
For more information visit online at www.matthew25tc.com, by mail to: Matthew 25 Center, P.O. Box 142, Shallotte, NC 28459; or by phone at 754-6778.
Rachel Johnson is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.