Features

Saving souls, and money

Clients in a ministry program learn money management skills to prepare them for the future.

A Christian ministry in Leesburg strives to equip homeless families and men and women in recovery from drugs and alcohol with tools they need to make it on their own, including being able to budget, manage expenses, and save money. 

“We help them with long-term success,” says Bill Jones, executive director of the Christian Care Center (CCC), which comprises eight ministries, including the Men’s Residence and the Women’s Care Center, both for drug and alcohol recovery clients, and the Samaritan Inn, a shelter for homeless families.

“We have the opportunity of sharing and pouring into them information that they have never learned,” Bill says. “Many do not know the basics of saving, the basics of budgeting, or the basics of handling money.”

The clients reside at the CCC facilities on the campus of First Baptist Church of Leesburg, 220 N. 13th St., and they spend 34-36 hours a week in a variety of classes, including financial courses.

“Financial retraining is part of what we do for that long-term success,” Bill says, “because if they leave and they don’t have that information, they are going to wind up very similar to where they came from.”

Before homeless families can leave Samaritan Inn, they must save 30 percent of their take-home pay for housing and have funds in their savings account.

Volunteer Ron Sebree, 79, nicknamed “Money Ron,” teaches financial classes, including lessons on debt and borrowing, advises clients on how to create budgets, and prepares them for big purchases.

“I do a lesson on saving, and we’re saving money a little bit each week. You don’t want that to just pile up in checking; you want it to go to work for you,” Ron says. “What I am trying to do is prepare them to leave this safe haven and transition back into society.” 

10 tips from “Money Ron” Sebree

  • Set up a budget.
  • Look for sales.
  • Grocery shop from a list.
  • Resist impulse buying.
  • Don’t spend more than you make.
  • Save three to six months’ worth of living expenses as an emergency fund.
  • Get a second job, if needed.
  • Resist borrowing money.
  • Plan for big purchases such as cars and vacations.
  • Buy what you can afford and pay in cash.


About the author

Theresa Campbell

Originally from Anderson, Ind., Theresa worked for The Herald-Bulletin for many years. After experiencing a winter with 53 inches of snow, her late husband asked her to get a job in Florida, and they headed south. Well known in the area, Theresa worked with The Daily Sun and The Daily Commercial prior to joining Akers.
“I finally have my dream job. I’ve wanted to work for a magazine since I was a teenager, and I’m very excited to be here,” Theresa says. “There is such positive energy at Akers that it’s infectious.”
Theresa has three grown daughters—Julia lives in San Francisco, Emily is in Austin, Tex., and Maria is at the University of Central Florida.

Leave a Comment