05 Feb Social Enterprise Part 3: Wheeler Mission Pallets & Industry
How pallets came to be.
Wheeler Mission Pallets & Industry is the social enterprise for Hebron, our addiction recovery program for men. With operations housed at our Hunt Training Center (just north of Bloomington), the enterprise was formed to provide work therapy for program participants and to create revenue that partially offsets costs. Hebron participants are only with us for a short season, and pallet-making compliments the program as the trade can be taught and learned quickly. While men work to provide customers with superior hardwood pallets and logistical products, they gain skills needed to become productive members of society.
Why pallets matter.
The pallet shop is a crucial piece of the recovery process because it provides work therapy in a real-life setting and teaches an employable trade. Men work in the shop each day and are provided a consistent opportunity to develop a positive work ethic and transferable job skills. Many Hebron participants have either not had a job before or have been unsuccessful maintaining employment. In our Christ-centered, supportive setting, men address old behaviors and thought patterns that would disrupt employment or lead them back to substance abuse. Even more, we model and teach positive, biblical behaviors to encourage the men to flourish professionally, personally, and spiritually.
A story of hope in the pallet shop.
Once believing he would not live past 30, Elijah today is a testament of God’s grace, redemption, and healing. After a decade of addiction, Elijah came to Wheeler in order to avoid prison. Not wanting to be at our Hunt Training Center, Elijah was also reluctant to be assigned to the pallet shop work crew. However, as he worked through the recovery program, he surrendered to Christ and his entire life and perspective transformed.
Following his 15 months at Hunt Training Center, Elijah was hired to be part of the pallet management team. Four months later, he was made Production Supervisor, and then promoted to Operations Manager. And in October of 2019, he was named the new Director of Pallets & Industry. Today, he has a fruitful relationship with Christ, is involved in his church, has a family of his own, and inspires and encourages men working through the very same program that changed his life.
A service to the community.
Our pallet-making doesn’t just serve our guests; it also serves our community! We proudly produce our custom pallets to spec for distribution companies to ship goods across the nation. We also serve local companies within our community, meeting their job-specific needs. But most importantly, we get to tell about the lives restored along the way! For Elijah, sharing that with customers is a joy: “I share about what God is doing here at Wheeler Mission and the work that we are trying to accomplish. Every time I have the chance to talk to a customer or vendor about this, they are always very encouraged by what we do and are extremely thankful. Homelessness and drug addiction are everywhere and affect every community, and seeing the support from the community is very uplifting.”
If your business would like to learn more about working with Wheeler Mission Pallets & Industry, we’d love to hear from you! Call us today (812.961.0023) for a free quote. You can also get more info here.