A Beautiful Success Story

Salvation Army helps Oakland man beat addiction, gain employment

OAKLAND — Jerrell Loggins was losing a recurring battle with drug addiction last year, sending him on a downward spiral that threatened his life.

Amid a fog of substance abuse, he had a revelation that turned him from his self-destructive path.

He realized that, as a single father, he should get clean and sober for his young child.

Loggins turned to the Salvation Army of Alameda County, whose faith-based programs quickly stopped his slide and steered him toward sobriety.

A Share the Spirit profile on the Salvation Army-Alameda County, which has helped Jerrell Loggins, 45, of Oakland, who is a recovering substance abuse addictIn the nine months since, the Oakland man has a job, shelter, a drug-free life and the respect of the 7-year-old daughter he is raising.

“The threat of losing custody of her was the biggest thing for me,” he said. “I wanted to meet the expectations that come with being a father.”

Loggins, 45, said he could not have met those goals so quickly without the Christian nonprofit group’s help.

“They make an effort to do God’s will and help people, giving you direction to get the help you need,” he said.

He started with the basics, entering the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation center in Oakland’s Chinatown. As he received counseling and treatment, he worked at the center unloading warehouse pallets and helping its cooks prepare meals for fellow residents.

Loggins said he also restored his physical and emotional fitness.

“I got in touch with my spirituality and strengthened my faith,” Loggins said. “I also decided to take care of myself better, to strengthen my body by working out — it all played a role.”

Loggins and his daughter this summer moved into the Salvation Army’s Garden Center in Oakland, which houses struggling families and educates children at a small school. The Fruitvale district shelter also has a church and a library where parents and kids can study.

Loggins and daughter Aimahni have lived there four months, during which Loggins has taken parenting classes and joined support-group meetings. A job counselor helped him land work with a package delivery company. The job is seasonal and part-time, but it’s a start, Loggins said.

“I’m hoping that, through hard work and showing up every day and doing the job correctly, it will transition into a full-time job,” he said.

The Salvation Army, founded by a Christian minister in England in the 19th century, today has thousands of locations in more than 100 countries.

The nonprofit group fuses Christianity with charity, nurturing those in need by mixing church services with social services at homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, classrooms and thrift stores.

“We’ll help anyone who comes through our doors — it doesn’t matter what their religion is or what they believe in,” said Dan Williams, head of The Salvation Army of Alameda County.

Williams manages 55 employees and a $6.7 million operating budget.

He said the Alameda County branch operates 15 facilities and “four core locations” in Hayward, Newark, and the Oakland Chinatown and Fruitvale centers, which have helped Loggins.

“This whole facility is designed to give a hand up, not just a handout,” said Williams, an ordained minister. “We want to help people change their lives and start that journey to become self-sufficient and move on with their lives.”

Loggins has changed his life for the better in less than a year but acknowledges that he has more goals.

“Once I find full-time work, then I can afford a house, and I can do more for my daughter,” he said. “My primary motivation is to be a good dad.”

January 25, 2015


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