JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Lights of Hope is Saturday, September 28, at 7:00 p.m. at Gospel to the World Ministries in Jefferson City. No reservation needed. Just show up.
The event will begin with the ceremonial lighting of four candles.
Kimberly Pace said, "The black candle we light for those that we've lost to this disease. The red one is for those that are still active. The white is for those in recovery. And the gray we started last year, The Addict's Mom did, for those who are incarcerated."
The candles at Gospel to the World Ministries represent Lights of Hope.
"I am a recovering addict. I did relapse. And you have to have accountability. Helping people? That's what holds you accountable and keeps you clean," she said.
Kimberly Pace is 26 years clean, a recovering addict. Her son is an addict. Her cousin overdosed and died.
"I come from multi-generational addicts. And recently I got picked to be Tennessee Face of Opioids because of the multi-generational. I am determined to stop it with my grandchild," she said.
A Facebook support group called The Addict's Mom inspired her to embrace prevention and recovery. She is part of that group and Rescue 180, Jefferson County's substance abuse coalition.
Debra Shultz is the Executive Director of Rescue 180 uniting law enforcement, first responders, health care advocates, the faith community, and more.
"There is hope. And that people can come out of that lifestyle. And that God can restore them. I believe that with all of my heart. And with a community that rallies behind them and supports them. That connection is the thing that they need that helps with sobriety," Debra Shultz said.
In the last six months in Jefferson County, 911 has handled 71 overdose calls. First responders can treat them with Narcan. Then Rescue 180 reaches out.
"And then we try to follow up with those families immediately after and then provide them with advocacy and resources and connection which is a big thing when it comes to re-lifing and helping get their lives back on track. That's what's exciting," she said.
Pace said, "You do what you can. If I get a call at 3 or 4 in the morning or at 2, I'm going."
The church will fill with addicts and their families for Lights of Hope to share stories of recovery and resources for recovery.
"It takes our hands and our feet. It takes our voices, our love, and our encouragement just to tell someone that we believe in them," Debra Shultz said.
Kimberly Pace said, "One person at a time. One person at a time."