In towns and cities across the U.S., church groups help the homeless, educate poor children and shepherd drug addicts through recovery. Last year, President Bush’s faith-based initiative helped direct at least $2.1 billion in competitive federal grants to religious groups, a nearly 10 percent jump from a year earlier, says the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Samaritan Ministries of Winston-Salem, N.C. attracts those “that life has chewed up and spat out,” says the newspaper. Men with gunshot wounds have knocked on the shelter’s door late at night, as have badly beaten women.
A small group of men receive intensive, Bible-based treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. The program, called Project Cornerstone, is funded in part with a $54,000 per year grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. With special, addiction-themed Bibles open in front of them, men take turns reading verses they believe apply to their difficult recovery. Though the program is intensely Bible-based and sees faith in God as crucial to recovery, program leaders say they don’t turn away non-Christians. Federal law requires that they accept nonbelievers, too. Similar programs in hundreds of towns across the Southeast, from drug abuse programs to soup kitchens and more, are run by groups with religious underpinnings.