Hale Foundation dedicates new facility

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Inside a row of rainbow-colored, neatly kept wooden houses in the 400 block of Walker Street, men suffering from substance abuse are finding a refuge to aid their recovery.

Hale Foundation Program Director Joe Ward holds up a framed image of Hale founder Sam Sibley during a dedication at Sibley Hall on Friday afternoon. Martha Sibley, the widow of Sam Sibley, is at his right.    ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Hale Foundation Program Director Joe Ward holds up a framed image of Hale founder Sam Sibley during a dedication at Sibley Hall on Friday afternoon. Martha Sibley, the widow of Sam Sibley, is at his right.

Fifty men live in the houses while participating in 12-step recovery programs, working full-time and making the transition back into society.

“We provide some structure in their life so they don’t have time to go out and look for drugs or spend time where they shouldn’t,” said Cliff Richards, the president of the Hale Foundation.

On Friday, the organization dedicated a new facility with a commercial kitchen, dining hall, food storage and two apartments. Sibley Hall was built on a vacant lot, with most of the labor done by residents of the recovery program.

“It will give us the capacity to feed 65 men, which will give us the ability to acquire more housing,” Richards said. “We couldn’t adequately store all of our food. Now with the new kitchen, we have a walk-in cooler.”

The new facility is named for the late Sam Sibley, who founded the Hale Foundation in 1991 after working in the alcohol and drug unit at Univer­sity Hospital, said program director Joe Ward.

“Sam had always wanted to do something more for the alcohol and drug guys once they left treatment because so many of them are homeless,” Ward said.

The foundation started with one house on Fifth Street and moved to Watkins Street in 1998.

“Nowhere in our wildest dreams would we have thought this would be possible,” he said.

Before the new facility was built, preparations for a 6 a.m. breakfast and 5 p.m. dinner were made on two residential stoves in a tiny kitchen. Because of limited seating, the residents ate in shifts. Fifteen freezers and coolers stored the food needed for about 80 meals a day.

The number of men served by the Hale Foundation has doubled in the past four years. More court referrals have brought people from across the Southeast to the program, Richards said.

The average stay at the houses is six to 12 months. After the first 30 days, men must begin working and continue mandatory meetings at the houses.

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faithson 06/09/12 - 11:37 am

all the best to Joe and Cliff, always great to see a dream come true. Untold many have benefited from the services of the Hale house, thanks to all who 'live' the message of caring for the least among us.

blues550 06/09/12 - 05:37 pm

This organization is a true gift for Augusta.

jmo 06/10/12 - 05:16 am

I know "Sibo" would be proud.

ExpertCompSci 06/11/12 - 03:09 am
Grace and Peace to the Hale Foundation

May the God of all Grace give His Peace that passes all understanding to those at the Hale Foundation. May they be blessed with the tears of others so that they may pursue His work. The success stories from there are truly God's accomplishments.

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