HOPE IN HARD TIMES: 148 Ministries still helping through pandemic

Recovery from substance abuse disorder doesn’t move in a straight line.

Pastor David Storvick and his wife, Amber, live that reality every day. The couple, founders of 148 Ministries, devote much of their time to working with those who have been trapped in a cycle of addiction and want to escape.

Using physical fitness, counseling and faith, they help people on their journeys. Sometimes, those journeys stop than start again.

"A lot of the women we’ve dealt with reach out to us. They go off the deep end, maybe, after they get out of detox, and coming back after years to reengage," said Amber Storvick, personal trainer. "We know their past, and we don’t care. We want to help them."

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After opening last year, 148 Ministries continues to grow and carve out a new safe place for those struggling with substance abuse. Their approach, both from their Greenwood-based wellness center and their outreach with residential substance abuse programs throughout the region, creates unique connections.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced broad changes, they still maintain those connections from the past and make new ones.

"Even after shutting our doors, we still keep getting new people every week, and people who have come back after a time," David Storvick said. "Some people just want a new place to be."

David and Amber Storvick founded 148 Ministries in an effort to use physical fitness and faith to improve people’s lives. The ministry outreaches to residential centers for people struggling with addiction, abuse and other issues such as Teen Challenge, the Hope Center in Indianapolis, which focuses on helping sex-trafficked victims, and Volunteers of America.

Both 148 Ministries and its physical fitness branch, 148 Wellness, operate inside a Greenwood meeting center. The facility brings together physical, behavioral and spiritual wellness in its approach to addiction, abuse and other mental health issues.

Clients, as well as community members looking for a new type of exercise experience, can take advantage of a fully equipped gym and exercise center 24 hours a day. They can sign up for services, such as semi-private training, group fitness classes and rehabilitation exercise.

Those who need it can receive faith-based counseling for behavioral health issues such as addiction, as well as join small Bible study groups.

"It’s a big part of anyone overcoming addiction: You have to turn that addictive nature into something positive. Workout is a standard. You have to start developing and changing your body in order for your mind to follow," Amber Storvick said.

In March, the COVID-19 pandemic forced 148 Wellness to shut its doors, and the ministry to cease its outreach. They have since resumed working with programs such as Teen Challenge, working with at-risk young women twice each week. But restrictions have kept them out of most residential programs such as Volunteers of America.

"It’s been tough. The residential programs got shut down; you can’t let outside people come in, and we still haven’t been able to be back in with them," David Storvick said. "We have everyone ready to go, and we’re poised for whenever they open back up."

But by utilizing virtual workouts, as well as connecting with some of the people in a one-on-one capacity, they’ve been able to move forward through a difficult time.

"We’ve had girls reach out to us who we have been in contact with over the past two years," she said. "Hopefully, that grows, and as we go longer and longer, more of the girls who we’ve had contact with will reach out and be able to take advantage."

At the same time, 148 Ministries faced another crisis. The nonprofit organization relies on donations to do its work, and much of its funding evaporated with the pandemic.

"When something like this happens, people don’t necessarily think about nonprofit groups and trying to survive," David Storvick said. "Donations have basically flat-lined. I understand that — people are scared and out of work. So we’ve had to think about something else."

The ministry has shifted gears, and has planned to hold a fundraiser to help make up for its funding shortfalls. "An Evening of Hope" will be held on Sept. 20, on the patio and lawn at Vino Villa in Greenwood, featuring dinner and music by bluegrass band A Touch of Grass.

The Storvicks and others associated with 148 Ministries will speak about the work they do. John R. von Arx III, president and CEO of Volunteers of America, will talk about how their clients have benefited from partnering with the ministry. A local resident who has gone through the program will share the impact that 148 Ministries has had.

Planning those aspects of the event was easy compared to the work that went into adapting to the pandemic.

The Storvicks hired a consultant to audit the grounds at Vino Villa and help put a plan in place. Attendance will be limited to ensure that all attendees are distanced during the event. Personalized face masks will be distributed to attendees, and private label hand sanitizer will be available. 

Those precautions can hopefully allow people to enjoy dinner, live music and a program put together with ministry staff and past clients.

"Everyone is doing virtual fundraisers," David Storvick said. "We thought, if we keep the numbers low, we can do it."

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What: A wellness center that has grown out of a local organization, 148 Ministries, to help addicted and trafficked men and women. The facility helps people with their physical, mental and spiritual health using a holistic approach.

Where: 500 S. Polk St., Suite 40, Greenwood

Services: 24/7 gym membership, corrective exercise, rehabilitation, fitness programs, movement-centered therapy, group fitness classes, semi-private training, nutrition counseling, individual counseling, biblical counseling, small group Bible studies.

Who can join: The services of 148 Wellness are open to the public.

Information and pricing: 148ministries.com.

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"An Evening of Hope"

What: A fundraising event benefiting 148 Ministries, a nonprofit organization that strives to support and empower men and women in their ongoing fight with addiction.

When: 5-7 p.m. Sept. 20

Where: Vino Villa, 200 N. Madison Ave., Greenwood

What will be featured: Dinner, music by A Touch of Grass, and presentations by 148 Ministries officials and those who have been impacted by it.

Tickets: $100

How to get tickets: www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-of-hope-tickets-116221378271