BLADENBORO — Monday marked opening day for the Christian Community Outreach Center located at 12242 Hwy. 131 in Bladenboro. The center was started by Jamie Willoughby, a self-confessed former drug-user with a goal to serve the community with a variety of services in God’s name.
According to Willoughby, on Tuesday and Thursday nights a Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meeting will be held at the center by a certified counselor at 7 p.m. with free child-care services if needed.
“We have started with an entertainment portion with an arcade area for the youth and adults to enjoy good clean fun playing pool, foosball, video games, darts, and more,” Willoughby said.
The center is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays the center is open 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.
“Every Friday night we will have a cookout starting at 6:30 pm., so we can all fellowship and have fun in a good Christian environment,” Willoughby said.
Other goals were to start a food bank, Second Harvest, then eventual offer some support groups for people dealing with PTSD, and depression. Willoughby also wants the center to be a safe haven for drug addicts looking for a place to come and get clean. There is a shower at the center so folks can clean up, and there is a connection with the new Southeastern Carolina Crossroads and other places that offer help for people struggling with addictions.
“I gave my heart to God, and the Lord called me because this community needs help,” Willoughby said. “There is a lot of opiate use. I’m not a preacher, I’m not a counselor, but I have a lot of contacts and that’s what I have been working on.
“A lot of people strung out on drugs need a shower,” he added. “So I have a shower here, they can take a shower and then I can have a licensed counselor come and talk with them.”
The center has a front office, a bathroom with a shower, a meeting room, a kitchen, and an entertainment center.
“This is faith based,” Willoughby said, “This is a non-denominational, non-profit, all for the glory of God.”
Anyone looking for somewhere to plug in and help serve, Jamie said, the center is also accepting donations for the food bank and volunteers are needed.