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Charles Orange portrait

Donations of used goods save man from addiction

Added on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Your donations of used goods to Salvation Army Stores in the Twin Cities help hundreds of men beat addiction.

Salvation Army StoreOne of those men is Charles Orange (pictured above). He is a graduate of The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis – a facility that is funded entirely by the sale of your secondhand clothes, housewares, furniture, and other gently-used items.

Prior to arriving at the center, Orange had failed drug and alcohol treatment 49 different times.

“I’d been addicted to drugs my whole life,” said Orange, who showed up at the center with only the clothes on his back.

The 59-year-old’s life of substance abuse started in the mid-1970s when he was a teenager serving in the military overseas.

“I’d wake up and drink six or seven beers every morning,” Orange said. “Back then, it was normal for everyone to do that.”

His tailspin intensified in 1979, the year he tried crack cocaine for the first time. He was living with his mom in Iowa, having never developed much of a relationship with his dad, who lived in Mississippi.

“After I tried crack, my life really began to spiral,” Orange said.

He would spend the next 25 years hustling and selling drugs in Iowa, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Minnesota. During a two-year span he was arrested for shoplifting 127 times, and in the mid-1990s he served six years in prison for drug trafficking.

“I lived that lifestyle all the way until 2005,” Orange said. “I was homeless most of the time.”

Changed life

Orange entered the rehabilitation center on Jan. 4, 2006, and he has never been the same.

Adult Rehabilitation Center exterior“It changed my life,” he said. “Every time I’d been in treatment before, I had never totally surrendered to God.”

This time, Orange did surrender. He soaked in all of the support the rehabilitation center (pictured right) could offer.

The center provides free or mostly-free rehabilitation services for up to 130 men at a time. It is attached to our store at 900 N. Fourth St., one of eight Twin Cities Salvation Army store locations that sell your donated goods. The men receive housing, three meals a day, counseling, and spiritual support – all of which is funded by store proceeds. Graduation takes six months to a year.

Charles-Orange-Mug-300x200One of Orange’s defining moments at the center occurred while he was attending an anger management class taught by world renowned addiction counselor Earnie Larsen (1939–2011), who volunteered there often.

“I had a moment of clarity,” Orange said. “I had never dealt with the pain of growing up without my dad. It was those abandonment issues that kept getting me high. I was still looking for my dad’s love.”

Thankfully, Orange went on to discover the love of his one true father – God.

“He’d been with me during the course of my entire life,” Orange said. “He’d kept His arms around me, even when I didn’t know He was there.”

Orange went on to graduate from the rehabilitation center that fall, and he’s been sober ever since. Today he is married and owns a home.

Incredibly, a year ago he landed his dream job: working as a counselor at the rehabilitation center, the very place that helped save him.

Charles Orange sits at his desk“God prepared me to be where I am now,” said Orange (pictured at his desk), who has also become an ordained minister. “My life is no longer about me. It’s about helping other people and doing God’s will. God is so good.”

If you would like to help other men like Orange, doing so is easy: Simply clean out your drawers, closets, and garage, and drop the goods off at your nearest Salvation Army Store or donation collection bin in the Twin Cities. Most donations are tax-deductible (see valuation guide).