By Sharon Mager
LEWES, Del.—Charlie Arnold, pastor of Seaside Church, has a vision of giving ex-offenders a second chance and believes God is opening doors, actually truck bay doors, to facilitate that dream. Arnold is bi-vocational. He owns Arnold Powerwash and now intends to start a truck wash, “Second Chance Wash Bay,” serving independent truckers. He wants to hire workers who are on probation, work release, or recently freed. He’s even planning on going two steps further and will offer them a place to live and job training.
Arnold recently hired a gentleman who has a criminal record and is still on probation, giving him that second chance. While Arnold admits lots of worries, he found it to be a great decision.
“He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had, and he’s very loyal because I gave him a chance,” Arnold said. In addition to working for Arnold, the man now has a t-shirt printing and embroidery businesses. Arnold mentors him and takes him to trade shows.
Arnold recently hired two more employees who are ex-offenders and recently began Bible studies with the men and their friends, including some who are unable to attend normal church services due to their probation restrictions.
The property Arnold wants has over 16,000 square feet of business space with five bays large enough to put two rigs end to end inside. It has over 700 feet of road frontage. Arnold said it could house up to ten employees that need employment and housing.
He also plans to train the men in business. “I can create a pathway of training for just about any type of business there is interest in,” he explained.
Employees will train in becoming wash technicians washing over-the-road tractor/trailers; they will obtain their commercial driver’s license to be able to move the trucks, allowing them to apply for work at national trucking companies; they will learn diesel mechanics; restaurant skills as they cook and manage the preparation and sale of food for employees and customers; business management and entrepreneurship. They will even have the skills to potentially start their own businesses.
Arnold also stresses that men need a living wage, not minimum wage.
The property is $1.3 million dollars. Arnold needs $65,000 to lease with an option to purchase.
As he has shared his vision, local politicians and businesses have embraced the idea. Even professional musician Jeff Bates allowed Arnold to use his music video, “One Second Chance,” a song Bates wrote about his personal experience.
Bates was a Methamphetamine addict arrested for grand theft auto and drug possession. He woke up in jail and realized he hurt, cheated and lied to his loved ones. He got on his knees and prayed and asked God to forgive him and then asked the others to forgive him. The video shows the struggle of an ex-con trying desperately to get on his feet needing “one second chance.”
On his website, Arnold writes, “Some have asked me where we will draw the line … My answer has been none. We will consider someone regardless of what their offense was. When Christ died for our sins, He did not qualify which sin He would forgive, in His eyes, all sins are equal, and all sins can be equally forgiven. So why would I start drawing any lines? I am not going to do that. I am planning to give anyone who wants a second chance a true second chance. I give them my trust and respect, but it is up to them to keep it or destroy it. The choice is theirs.”
A Second Business is already being birthed—”Second Chance Global Referrals.” Arnold explained that it would be a referral associational network of companies.
“To become a member either the owner of the company must have been in jail at some point in his life or employ over 50% of his labor force from guys who needed a second chance after being in prison. The way I see this meeting a need is like this: John is in prison, but his mother needs her car fixed and does not know where to go. So instead of going down the street to someone she does not know she pulls up Second Chance Global Referrals and finds a member to take her car to for repair. The Second Chance Global Referral Member will take care of John’s mother well, because he will remember what it was like to be inside and unable to take care of such things for his mom. This will provide care on many levels. The first year will be free to sign up, the second year $10 a month, and the third-year will be $20 a month.”
Arnold is seeking prayer and funding for the projects. For more information email Charlie Arnold or call 302-542-9783.