Madison, Ind., appears to be the quintessential small American town, but beneath the sunny surface, there’s a darkness threatening the lives and livelihoods of many residents.
Intergenerational drug use and addiction are pervasive problems in the community of nearly 12,000 people. With entire families being affected, there is much work to be done to break the cycle and create hope for a better future. Lt. Vinal and Captain Brenna Lee, Madison corps officers, have been instrumental in bringing the community together to help those suffering from addiction-related problems find restoration and reconciliation in Christ.
“Ministry is most effective when you’re responding to the needs of the community,” said Lt. Vinal. “Approximately 85 percent of those we serve are struggling with some aspect of addiction.”
The Lees encounter many people who come to the corps through social services, feeding program or dental clinic and request help for their or their loved ones’ addictions. Referrals also come from the jail and other ministries.
“Each time we have a touch point with someone, we’re intentional,” said the lieutenant. “So we’re not just providing band-aids; we’re trying to get to the heart of the issue.”
Because Madison is a relatively central location to several adult rehabilitation centers (ARCs) in both the Central and Eastern territories, the Lees have the opportunity to refer addicted clients and transport them to an available facility within a few hours’ drive for treatment. When possible, they work with the families of the individuals to support them through the absence of their loved one, particularly if the person is the primary provider for the family. Eligible families are enrolled in Pathway of Hope to provide additional support and begin the process of breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation.
“We want them to know we’re fighting with them and for them,” the lieutenant concluded. “We make sure they know they are wanted and welcome at The Salvation Army.”