Meeting House expanding services

Beth Sergent -

POINT PLEASANT — A Justice Reinvestment Grant for $68,325 has been earmarked for a community engagement specialist (a sort of social worker) to work through The Meeting House, Inc., located in the former St. Paul UM Church.

The grant award was announced by Steve Presley at this week’s board of directors meeting at The Meeting House. Presley, who applied for the grant, said he’s attending an awards ceremony for it in Charleston on Feb. 29 and has also applied for a grant through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to place a Drop-In Center at The Meeting House.

Optimally, the Justice Reinvestment Grant will help pay for group and individual therapy services through Appalachian Family Services, which could include parenting classes, depression and anxiety support, etc. This grant would also be used for transportation funds to allow The Meeting House staff to arrange transportation for those who need to get to the facility.

As previously reported, the DHHR grant is for $55,000 to finance a Drop-In Center at The Meeting House. The grant provides $25,000 for a program manager and $10,000 for a peer support specialist, as well as $12,000 to cover rent expenses. The BoMar Drop-In Center in Ripley is the facility The Meeting House is using as its template. BoMar is a place for self-help groups with a focus on addictive disorders and mental health disorders and is also a facility for social activities and special events. Drop-In Centers have managers and support specialists which, if funded, will allow The Meeting House to be open during the day as a safe space for those in recovery, not just when there are meetings. Presley said news on this grant is pending.

Also discussed at the meeting, Presley reported he has applied for a grant through the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation to pay for placing a handicapped accessible ramp into the building. John Holland, pastor with Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, also in attendance at the meeting, said the West Virginia Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps (WVMAW), which is organized through the Presbyterian Church (USA), would like to become involved in providing labor for the project. This will be the third year volunteers from WVMAW will be housed at the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, with those volunteers from across the country working on community projects specifically in Mason County.

“We’ll get it worked out,” Holland told the board of directors. “We’re thrilled to death to help with this.”

It’s hoped the ramp will be financed and placed this summer.

In other business:

It was also reported cleaning and painting has begun in the nursery for children who are brought to The Meeting House while parents attend meetings.

Al-Anon meetings have begun at The Meeting House at 6 p.m., Wednesdays. These meetings are for those who have loved ones struggling with addiction.

The board of directors also unanimously approved appointing a subcommittee for “Games in the Park” which is an initiative to get children involved in playing sports and healthy physical activity. Taking on this project are some members from Lifespring Church in Point Pleasant who were looking at planning some sort of “kick off” event in the near future.

The board of directors also discussed having a possible National Day of Recovery event with food and entertainment, with a date and place to be determined. A 5K run/walk was also discussed as an activity for this event.

A food handlers class will be offered at 11:30 a.m. on March 14 at The Meeting House.

It was announced a town hall meeting discussing opiate abuse will take place at 6:30 p.m., March 10 at Main Street Baptist Church.

The next board of directors meeting is at 6 p.m., March 7.

Again, The Meeting House is pretty simple to understand — it’s a house for meetings like Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and any other self-help group which needs a safe place to call home. It can be found on Facebook under The Meeting House, Inc.

Current meetings scheduled at The Meeting House are:

Monday: Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, noon. Wednesday: Narcotics Anonymous meeting, 6 p.m. Al-Anon meeting, 6 p.m. Friday: Narcotics Anonymous meeting, 6 p.m. Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, noon.

Beth Sergent

Reach Beth Sergent at or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.

Reach Beth Sergent at or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.