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OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Opportunity Center offers services to homeless people

Photo+by+Paulina+Veremchuk.%0AThe+Spartanburg+Opportunity+Center%2C+located+just+minutes+from+Wofford%E2%80%99s+campus.
Photo by Paulina Veremchuk. The Spartanburg Opportunity Center, located just minutes from Wofford’s campus.

Homelessness is a problem that many cities have to face, and they have faced it in a variety of more-or-less successful ways. One way Spartanburg is attempting to combat the problem of homelessness is through the Spartanburg Opportunity Center. 

The center offers a variety of services from medical care, showers, laundry, food, case management and much more with their stated goal being to create a place “where homeless and the nearly homeless can receive basic and expanded needs, services and resources giving them an opportunity to succeed.” 

The center is located at 701 Saxon Ave and is usually open from 8 A.M. to 11 A.M. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to provide these services.

The clinic has only opened within the last year, but Gerri Rebello, director of the clinic at the center, said that it was initially part of their five-year plan but was able to open up earlier with access to a nurse and funding.

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Rebello explained that the clinic treats “everything and anything,.. from headaches to colds, to diabetics, to severe wounds.” 

Rebello also added that there are many types of wounds that the hospitals will never see, as many of the patients at the center haven’t had proper access to needed care for their conditions.

Most of the center’s “neighbors,” the name the center has for the people it serves, have mental illnesses, and therefore it is a primary thing they hope to help them with. This service is mostly for adults at the moment and Rebello specified that there is another organization in town that treats children.

The Opportunity Center’s facilities also include an industrial kitchen, which was also able to be built ahead of schedule, a large storage area and a laundry room.

Brady Smith is the operation manager and director of security at the Opportunity Center and has worked there since Oct. 2020. ”

Smith said that there is always something that needs to be done, emphasizing the need for volunteers at the center.

The type of person best fit to volunteer is very patient and has a big heart that is “balanced with instinct,” stressing the need to “help without enabling,” Smith explained.

Smith sees the role of the center as helping people get back on their own feet, whether that be physically, financially or economically, but the goal is to “help without creating reliance,” and to “empower each one of these homeless people on a journey to independence.”

Youmi Efurd, Wofford’s museum curator, has been volunteering at the center since Dec. 2020. Since April 2021, Efurd has been working with the center to bring an arts and crafts program. 

Efurd described this as being a learning process for both the center and the people it serves. While trying to offer new opportunities to those that use the center’s services, she has also learned about the best ways to run this program for the center.

The arts and crafts program has been on hiatus as Efurd looks for other Wofford students to help run the program with her at the center. 

Groups from Wofford have also helped clean and sort the clothing closet at the Center, and Efurd has reached out to many students to bring in student organizations at Wofford to help with the variety of services that the center needs. 

The Spartanburg Opportunities Center is always looking for volunteers to help with most of the services it provides. Anybody interested in volunteering can sign up at the webpage: https://www.spopcenter.org/volunteer-today.

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Cameron Carsten, Managing Editor
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