BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Commissioners Monday tabled a proposal to place the Peer Recovery Center under the umbrella of Hope Mission Ministries, a move proponents say will enable Hope Mission and the center to expand the services they offer.

The board considered the request, made by Hope Mission Executive Director Gene McLendon, as part of the agenda for its regular monthly meeting held in the commissioners’ boardroom and virtually via Zoom. Most of the commissioners attended the meeting in person, but Chairperson Bill Smith and Commissioner Mark Mansfield attended virtually.

Mr. McLendon told the board five separate nonprofit organizations currently operate under the Hope Mission Ministries umbrella. If the county approves the request, the Peer Recovery Center would become the sixth entity, joining Hope Recovery Homes, the soup kitchen, thrift store, emergency financial assistance program and homeless services.

“We believe that we can expand and increase the ability to help those in our community that we serve, and when I speak of community, I’m speaking of our community of those in poverty, homelessness and substance abuse,” Mr. McLendon said. “Those are the primary focuses of our community that we address.”

All five existing entities operate as their own 501(c)3 organizations and have representatives on Hope Mission’s board of directors. Three members of the Peer Recovery Center’s board of directors would join the full board, Mr. McLendon said, and existing staff and volunteers with the center would be retained.

If it’s approved, Mr. McLendon plans to use the Peer Recovery Center’s building as an office for Hope Recovery Homes and move several members there. It would also use the building to host new programs and expand existing services, such as peer support training and Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

The county contributes $30,000 annually to the operation of the Peer Recovery Center building, which is located at 3900 Bridges St. in Morehead City and is owned by the county. Most of the budget pays for overhead costs of the building itself, with some funds going toward scholarships to pay for peer support training. The Peer Recovery Center also fundraises and applies for grants to fund programs and scholarships.

County commissioners did not shoot down Mr. McLendon’s plan altogether, but said they needed time to gather more information and determine whether it was the best move for the Peer Recovery Center. There was no supporting information about the proposal included in the meeting agenda packet.

Peer Recovery Center founder and Director Bev Stone was also in attendance Monday and gave the board of commissioners a brief history of the Peer Recovery Center. She said while she appreciated Mr. McLendon’s offer, she wanted to be absolutely sure the proposed change would not affect operations of the Peer Recovery Center in a negative way.

“We don’t want to lose our 501(c)3 (status), we don’t really want to lose our board,” she said.

Ms. Stone is the mother of County Commissioner Jimmy Farrington.

Commissioner Ed Wheatly made a motion, with Mr. Farrington seconding, to table the decision on whether to place the Peer Recovery Center under the umbrella of Hope Mission Ministries until a later date when the board has a more complete picture of the proposal and what it means for the county and the respective organizations.


Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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