YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — A fundraiser and ribbon cutting ceremony for a new recovery center in York is happening Saturday at noon. The center is a new location for JFT Recovery & Veterans Support Services, which is based out of Lemoyne.
The Lemoyne center helps about 275 people each week. While people travel there from across the region, the founder says it’s been critical to add a location to the White Rose City.
“York County has been and still is number four in the state for overdose deaths, so the need is definitely here,” said Steve Barndt, the founder and executive director of JFT Recovery & Veterans Supports Services.
Steve Barndt, who has been in recovery for 18 years, knew he wanted to expand JFT Recovery & Veterans Supports Services to York, but the pandemic made that even more pertinent.
“Overdoses spiked through that period and they still are,” said Barndt. “Isolation is our biggest enemy in recovery.”
The York center will offer a safe space people can go for support at any time, so they don’t feel alone and can meet others in recovery.
“Part of our coffee shop here, where people can again come seven days a week, have a place to go, hangout, social events,” said Barndt.
Services will mirror what’s offered in Lemoyne.
“This room here combined with the room behind it will be a food pantry,” said Barndt. “This clothing closet is really for anybody that can come in and just has a need.”
Meeting options and resources seem endless. They’re meant to fill gaps in a system that can be challenging to navigate when you’re in crisis.
“We will have a recovery re-entry program for people who are getting out of treatment, looking for the after-care,” said Becky Lockner, the York coordinator at JFT Recovery & Veterans Support Services.
Also like the Cumberland County center, the York location will offer housing programs to get people back on their feet. The building’s access to public transportation, other services and job opportunities is key.
“Have some structure to it,” said Barndt. “Have some accountability to it.”
Since JFT Recovery & Veterans Support Services is a mostly volunteer-run organization, people in or seeking recovery, who have lost loved ones to addiction or who are helping others battle all gave their own time to bring the York center to life.
“The healing that I see from people being able to participate in something like this in incredible,” said Lockner.
“It’s just been a real effort from the community, the recovery and veterans community to put this together,” said Bardnt. “It’s been amazing.”
JFT Recovery & Veterans Support Services also runs meetings out of Millersburg. The nonprofit is working to expand services at that location too.