HOUSTON, Ark. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have affected everything and everyone, but James Loy, executive director of Renewal Ranch, said he has found a “blessing in the midst of the storm.”
“We have received $550,000 in grants,” Loy said. “$550,000 has come to us this year … in the midst of COVID-19. That’s why I call it a ‘blessing in the midst of the storm.
“We are truly blessed,” Loy said. “This year has been challenging, but God is with us every step of the way. … He meets our needs. Philippians 4:19 says, ‘And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.’”
Renewal Ranch is a nondenominational faith-based and Christ-centered recovery program for men who are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. The ranch’s motto is “Restoring broken lives through Christ.”
“They come here as broken men,” Loy said. “God puts the pieces together again. Each man comes here at no cost to him. Our goal is to have these men fall in love with Jesus. … Here, they will find love and joy and peace.”
Established in 2011, the program, which is divided into three phases, initially served eight men. Today, thanks to these grants and the support of the community, it will be able to house 53 men.
Loy said the recent donations include a $250,000 Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, sponsored by one of its member banks, First Security Bank of Conway; a $50,000 matching grant from First Security Bank; a $50,000 matching grant from the Bunny Adcock Family Foundation of Conway; and a $200,000 capital grant from the Sunderland Foundation in Overland Park, Kansas.
Loy said money from the AHP grant, the First Security Bank grant and the Bunny Adcock Family Foundation grant will be used to add 22 beds to the 15,000-square-foot
Renewal Ranch Restoration Center, where some of the men live during their 12-month recovery program. He said the Sunderland Foundation grant will be used to help build a 3,275-square-foot counseling center, admissions and administration wing to the front of the Restoration Center.
The Restoration Center, which was dedicated in August, provides a commercial kitchen, expanded teaching space, a chapel and dining area, a small administration and office area, and the 22 additional beds for residents.
“We are humbled and grateful for this grant from First Security Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas,” Loy said. “First Security has been a supporter since we established the ranch.
“We were looking for additional sources to match this grant, and the Bunny Adcock Family Foundation stepped right up. We have some other donors who are interested but have not committed as of yet.”
Loy said the increased capacity was critical for Renewal Ranch.
“We had over 300 written applications for our 31 beds in the first nine months of 2019,” Loy said. “These new beds will enable us to help more men and their families.”
Johnny Adams, market president and CEO of First Security Bank in Conway, said Renewal Ranch provides a critical service, particularly at a time when addiction to drugs and alcohol is spiraling.
“They needed more space to have any hope of keeping pace with the demand for their services,” Adams said. “We were only too happy to join with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and help Renewal Ranch dramatically expand its capacity to offer lifesaving treatment and counseling.”
The Affordable Housing Program assists FHLB Dallas member institutions such as First Security Bank in financing the purchase, construction and/or rehabilitation of homes, benefiting households with incomes at or below
80 percent of the area’s median income. FHLB Dallas awards AHP grants annually through member institutions to support the creation or rehabilitation of affordable housing units, among other projects. In 2019, FHLB Dallas, in partnership with its member financial institutions, awarded $17 million in AHP grants to 35 projects that will result in 2,122 new or renovated housing units.
“We are pleased to join First Security Bank to provide additional housing for those seeking the critical drug and alcohol addiction treatment and counseling that takes place at the Renewal Ranch Restoration Center,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. “With this expansion, Renewal Ranch will be able to increase its housing capacity by more than 70 percent at a time when the demand for its services continues to grow.”
Loy said Renewal Ranch requested Sunderland Foundation support to add the counseling, admissions and administration wing to the ranch’s Restoration Center.
“The wing will provide confidential space for client admission and counseling sessions,” Loy said. “It will also provide on-campus office space for me and my senior staff.”
According to the website sunderland.org, “grants from the Sunderland Foundation assist with building the places where families in distress find help and healing, where young minds grow and thrive, and where communities come together for celebration and inspiration.”
David Crow, Renewal Ranch board president, said the Sunderland Foundation grant “will make a huge difference in the Ranch’s ability to restore broken lives through Jesus Christ. [The grant] enables Renewal Ranch to satisfy a major requirement in its master plan and move forward in its 2020-21 strategic plan.”
NBMC Inc. of Greenbrier will build the addition; construction was scheduled to start Sept. 14. Led by owner Ray Nabholz, NBMC constructed the initial phase of the Restoration Center. Loy said construction is expected to take approximately six months.
Loy said although he and the Renewal Ranch board are grateful for these grants, more donations are needed.
“When the virus hit, we closed our gates. We shut off the road. … No one came in or out,” Loy said.
“We did everything internally. The staff stood by us. … We kept our guys safe. No one tested positive for the virus. Everyone persevered and grew in spirit and love,” he said.
“Psalm 34:18, says, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ However, when COVID-19 hit, Renewal Ranch was active throughout the state,” Loy said.
“More than 130 churches statewide supported us in some way. We traveled to host churches throughout the state every Sunday to make a presentation. The church would gift us with a love offering,” he said. “In the past five months, we have not been anywhere. … We have not even been able to have chapel services. Our normal operating expense is $6,300 a month.
“We have lost $25,000 to $30,000 during these past few months. We are concerned, but we know God will meet our needs. Jeremiah 33:3 says, ‘Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”
Renewal Ranch is at 75 Lake Drive in Houston. For more information, call (501) 269-4306 or visit therenewalranch.org.