Congressman Rutherford Thanks Community for Support of Second Chances

Congressman John Rutherford returned home to Jacksonville to speak on the importance of supporting second chances. At a Community Breakfast hosted by Sulzbacher Center, Feeding Northeast Florida, and Operation New Hope, Congressman Rutherford addressed members from the nonprofit and faith communities. He reminded the audience that “Reentry is not a program. It should be a way of life for our community.” He then added, “It’s not about being soft on crime, it’s about being smart on crime.”

During the event, Operation New Hope’s President and CEO Reggie Fullwood thanked Congressman Rutherford for being a Second Chance Champion. Fullwood recalled how the former Jacksonville Sheriff supported Operation New Hope in the early days by encouraging people leaving jail and prison to enroll in the Ready4Work program. “That critical early support of our work is one of the pillars that has helped lift up Operation New Hope so that we could achieve success as a Statewide Reentry Network today.” 

Crystal Chisholm, a Ready4Work graduate, shared how import the support and training provided by Operation New Hope was to her current success as a Assistant Director of Operations for the local company, Camp Craft Cocktails. “Without having that second chance, I wouldn’t be were I am today.” Chisholm thanked Congressman Rutherford for his recent reform efforts surrounding SNAP benefits, sharing that she was unable to qualify for the much needed food assistance after leaving prison. “But I was able to reach out into the community and  found St. Mary’s Food Pantry, who provided enough food for me while I needed it until I was able to find employment and take care of myself.”

Congressman Rutherford, Sulzbacher, Feeding Northeast Florida, and Operation New Hope also thanked the faith community for their tireless work providing food and critical resources before, during, and since the pandemic. Because of their commitment to the community, people in need received essential food and resources to help address food insecurity. 

Thank you Congressman Rutherford and  Jacksonville for leading by example as a “City of Second Chances!” 

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