WHAT'S WORKING: New recycling program reclaims materials, lives - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

WHAT'S WORKING: New recycling program reclaims materials, lives


CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - For years, the City Gospel Mission has helped addicts clean up and reclaim their lives. Now, the Mission has started a new program that will help people after they graduate.

The program is called Green Recycling Works. It's modeled after a program in Milton, Pennsylvania. The program is the new next step after Exodus, a year long program run by the City Gospel Mission for men with substance abuse issues.

Delmond Montgomery is one of the first participants.

On Thursday afternoon, he worked hard moving materials in a large warehouse. However, he isn't just moving cardboard; he's pushing away the harmful parts of his old life. The 48-year-old father of two started drinking at 13.

"One thing led to another," said Montgomery. "I started getting in trouble with the law. Finally, it came down to the point where you know, the final last step was incarceration."

Hamilton native Keifer Moreland, 20, said he hit rock bottom as a teenager.

"Trouble," said Moreland. "I mean drugs, parties, everything that's not a part of my lifestyle nowadays."

The men were once addicts, but the two found help at the City Gospel Mission and are now co-workers. They are the first two employees of Green Recycling Works-- a program that's all about reclaiming materials while reclaiming lives.

"Warehousing skills are great," said Director Matthew Long. "Truck driving skills are great, but just going into an office and interacting with people, doing pickups in the office, seeing the other possibilities of jobs that are available to them, I think is going to be key to their success and what becomes their next job."

The organization recently moved into a century-old warehouse in South Fairmount.

Long said they decided on recycling because of the low cost of materials needed. Organizers also loved the idea of helping Mother Earth.

The company will take materials you don't want and turn it into something new. You can donate clothing, books, cardboard, paper, plastics, aluminum and carpets.

Customers will be able to drop off items for free. Workers will pick-up items for a fee.

"We are pounding the pavement; learning what businesses will allow us to come and acquire their products," said Sherman Bradley, vice-president of the City Gospel Mission. "We've been sharing who we are and what we're about and why we're going to do this style of business. Not just recycling the products, but we're really recycling people. Giving folks another opportunity to get back into the workplace environment successfully."

Organizers want the participants to stay that way for good.

Moreland has been sober now for a year. Montgomery has been sober for a year and two weeks.

"I'm not rushing it," said Moreland. "I don't want to jump into something too quick, and slip, and fall. I want to be ready when I take my steps-- getting my own apartment and doing things on my own officially."

"I'm thinking different," said Montgomery. "I'm acting different. I'm talking different. Reacting with people different. You know? It's just been a big change for me. I'm just so happy for it. I've got to give the praises to God for it."

In the future, Green Recycling hopes to employ 10 people and change 10 lives.

"We bought them work pants, steel toe boots, we'll have hoodies for when it gets colder," said Long. "We'll go out and buy uniforms-- coats, hats, as well. We want to stop everything that can keep them from going to work. We even went to a bank last week to help them go ahead and reopen bank accounts again so when their paychecks go ahead and get deposited."

The guys' first payday is next Thursday, and both men already have big plans for their checks.

"I'll probably get my wife and mother some flowers," said Montgomery.

"I'm getting a cell phone," said Moreland. "I haven't had a cell phone in 12 months."

This is a not-for-profit venture. Any profit made will fund the employees' salaries, cover operating costs, and help sustain the ministry of the City Gospel Mission.

The program just started this week, but the grand opening will take place on Monday, October 17th.


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