HOLTVILLE — Though the holiday season has passed for another year, leaders of the Turning Point Life Ministry in Holtville can look back fondly on a job well done helping their community.
The ministry again played Santa Claus for
some Holtville residents who received a little extra holiday cheer when the
organization hosted the 14th annual Mike Johnson Memorial Give Away on Dec. 21.
Mike Johnson founded Turning Point in 1994
and the annual remembrance commemorates his passing in 2010 at that time of the
“We probably had the biggest turnout
we’ve ever had,” said Norman Chandler, Turning Point pastor. “Many
people were blessed that day.”
The ministry handed out 135 boxes of food
to people who pre-registered at the group’s 449 Pine Ave. address. From Nov. 1-Dec.
18 people could sign up at the Life Center each Wednesday but participants had
to be Holtville residents.
Cornucopia of Staples
“We went through 600 pounds of canned
food. There was enough in each box for a family of four,” said Chandler.
“We distributed bags of fruit and produce as well as tons of clothing and
Ken Vest, Turning Point anger management
facilitator, noted the group stacked furnishings and clothing, collected
through the past year, in the parking lot so people could pick out the
furniture or clothing they liked best and take it home with them.
“We also had 40-plus bicycles raffled
off (free tickets) and there was some very happy and grateful kids,” said
Church secretary Cibia Leonard prepared the
Albondigas, a traditional Mexican meatball soup. It is a simple soup base made
with sautéed onions, garlic, broth and tomatoes. Into the bubbling soup a cook
drops meatballs made with ground beef or ground turkey and rice.
“It was such a great community
gathering, good to see and a blessing for our community,” said Vest.
In addition there were 10 scooters given
away, as well as an assortment of Christmas gifts so every child received a
present. Sponsors included Mark McBroom’s Bloom to Box, Vessey & Company
Inc., Southland Cooling, Joe Heger Farms and Ben Abatti Jr.
“I thank all of them for the food
boxes, fruit, produce, bikes and toys,” said Norm Chandler. “I also
thank all our church families for their participation and if I left anyone out,
please forgive me.”
Turning Point Milestones
Chandler said he would like to remind Imperial County residents the 25th anniversary of the Turning Point Men’s Home, as well as the 15th anniversary of the ministry, will be celebrated on March 27 from 6-9 p.m. at the Old Eucalyptus Schoolhouse west of El Centro. Those interested can RSVP at the website www.turningpointmenshome.org or by phoning the office at (760) 356-4088.
Chandler has been with Turning Point since
2004 when he was the men’s home supervisor.
“We provide a faith-based curriculum
approved by the Imperial County Probation Office and certified every year since
2005,” he said.
The course accommodates 45-50, providing
one class each week for one year. The class can serve as an alternative remediation
for those with a misdemeanor conviction.
will do a four-month internship and then go into our transition living quarters
with a site on our campus,” said Chandler. “We have two in transition
quarters now. Some even find work and stay up to five years. They want to make
certain they can succeed before they go out on their own.”