Assist Communities unifies church community with recovering addicts

Avon Lake

By Nicole Hennessy

Assist Communities has a new partner in Avon Lake United Church of Christ (UCC).

The church and the addiction advocacy group will be providing outreach to individuals in sober living homes. They’ll also be hosting drives for donations of hopeful letters and personal care items for recovering addicts.

Assist regularly hosts drives for care packages through its C.A.R.E. (Community, Advocacy, Resources, Education) Package program with The Addict’s Parents (TAP) United in Lorain County.

Pete Barth, who runs mission programs with UCC, said he was aware of the heroin epidemic, and he’s seen families struggle with losing loved ones to drugs.

“But I’ve learned a lot about how deep it is,” Barth said.

“It’s scary.”

Barth said his congregation will begin regular visits to sober houses and recovery centers next week. While he intends for the focus to be on raising awareness and educating his congregation, he says he welcomes any community members interested in visiting individuals in recovery to reach out.

Barth says he hopes to learn more about concrete actions that can make a difference in recovering addicts’ lives. He also hopes this outreach initiative will serve “to make them aware that the community’s got their backs, that we’re pulling for them and that we’re supporting them in any way we can.”

Assist founder Jim Coyne is continuously on the lookout for new partnerships, referring to the connections between UCC congregants and recovering addicts as a unifying effort.

Assist will be gathering personal care items for its next round of C.A.R.E packages through the end of the month. For a complete list of items needed or to schedule a drop-off or pick-up of donations, call 440-201-4411.

For more information on UCC outreach, call 440-933-3241.

Contact Nicole Hennessy at


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