The Well, a center in downtown Brunswick that serves the area’s homeless, has undergone significant improvements in recent months.
And a couple of new faces with FaithWorks Ministries, which operates the Well, are driving much of that work.
Carolyn Johnson and Honey Sparre joined the FaithWorks team in August and have already made significant changes to the daily operations at the homeless center.
“Here at the Well, since Carolyn and I have come onboard, we have implemented a bunch of new things,” said Sparre, director of homeless ministries for FaithWorks. “We’ve cleaned it up.”
Johnson, who serves as director of operations and volunteer ministries for FaithWorks, oversees the nonprofit’s numerous ministries and coordinates volunteer opportunities.
“FaithWorks doesn’t work without volunteers,” she said.
Johnson previously worked with Golden Isles Broadcasting as a talk station manager, and she said she was drawn to the good work being done by FaithWorks.
“I just felt like it was time for a change, and I wanted to make more of a difference,” she said.
Sparre has worked for many years with Gateway Behavioral Health Services, and she has connections throughout the community among those working to aid the homeless.
She’s used those connections to bring more resources into the Well. Gateway now comes to the center to do intakes once a week, Sparre said. She’s also organized a weekly visit from an employment agency, as well as a weekly depression, anxiety and substance abuse group meeting.
Johnson and Sparre also recently brought the Lighthouse Project on board, and the Atlanta-based nonprofit will provide free eye exams and inexpensive glasses to those who qualify, along with hearing aids and eye surgeries.
Sparre’s position with FaithWorks is grant funded, and she said matching donations will be needed to ensure she can continue longterm.
Through her role, Sparre said, she’ll also be getting out into the community and sharing the story of the Well, which serves nearly 90 people daily.
“It’s real here, and it’s not the drug addict that’s always homeless,” Sparre said. “We have men here who lost their job. They got hurt on the job, they lost their job and because they’re a convicted felon it’s hard for them to find another one.”
Sparre feels confident, though, that the community can come together and make a difference.
“I’m not going to say we’d ever solve the homeless population problem, but we could make it better if we came together,” she said.
The work to continue improving the Well cannot be done without volunteer support, Johnson said.
She encouraged those who are interested in volunteering to email her at email@example.com.