by: Erica Bryant Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Six months after opening on Central Avenue, a business that puts women to work is hours away from closing down.
Second Helping hires formerly incarcerated women.
Organizers told Eyewitness News anchor Erica Bryant what it could mean for the employees if the program shuts down.
They're women who provide home-cooked meals and work their way back into society after incarceration and escaping sex trafficking.
Manager Candice Ikard said the job changed her life.
“I was able to obtain custody of my children again, provide safe housing and stability to my family, so to me Second Helping is my everything,” Ikard said.
But right now, it is in jeopardy.
“If we don't get more customers really soon, we're going to have to shut the doors,” said Melissa Mummert, founder of the nonprofit.
She said food sales haven't covered business expenses.
There's a backlog of $7,000 in bills, and they need more people to serve to sustain from there.
“Shortterm, we're looking for donations, and longterm we just need more people in our shop so we can keep these girls employed,” Mummert said.
Without employment, statistics show 54 percent of those who've been released from prison return to crime.
Mummert said none of the women who've come through this program have offended again.
Ikard wants to keep the opportunity going.
“My point is for each woman who walks through these doors that (they) gain employment and that they get exactly what I got out of it,” Ikard said.
“It’s a lot of love in this place. Love, spirit and women praying every day, and it would be really sad,” Mummert said.
Second Helping needs to boost carry-out and delivery service to survive.
Donations to the nonprofit are tax deductible.
For more information and to help, visit: http://www.secondhelpingcharlotte.org/home.html