Catawba Correctional Center Inmates Paint New Exodus Homes Building

Catawba Correctional Center Paints New Exodus Building

Jason Davis and Donald Young are seen painting the interior of the new Exodus Thrift Store at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory. The purchase of the new Exodus building is part of a $1,057,000 capital campaign that is underway now. When open, it will house the Exodus Thrift Store, Exodus Homes offices, Exodus Works vocational training enterprises, education and meeting rooms, and a non-profit sharing center.

HICKORY – When the Exodus Homes’ new building at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory was ready for interior painting, it was natural to ask the inmates at Catawba Correctional Center for help. The faith-based United Way agency that provides supportive housing for homeless recovering people wanted to give the men from the prison in Newton an opportunity to help get the building ready for it’s grand opening which is planned for September 29, 2018.  For the past 20 years, Exodus Homes has served many men from Catawba Correctional Center with housing, weekly community visits for church and special events, as well as going into the prison with special programs. The men from the prison are grateful for all Exodus has done for them over the years. “I like having an opportunity to give back to a community that I took so much from ” said Jason Davis. Donald Young added “I used to live right down the road from this building and I want to see my neighborhood improve and thrive.” James Johnson said “I wanted to be part of something where I can make a difference in my community”. Sean Jennings agreed saying “I love Exodus so much because they give us the tools we need to rehabilitate ourselves. That is part of our recovery”. The chaplain’s clerk John Turner  said “It’s exciting to get out in society again and be a productive citizen making a contribution.”

The Rev. Reggie Longcrier is the chaplain of Catawba Correctional Center  as well as the founding executive director of Exodus Homes. “This is an awesome opportunity to be able to bring them out for this cause. They were eligible, able, and willing. The inmates at the prison are part of the Exodus Movement too.”

Electronic Sign Donated to New Exodus Homes Building

HICKORY – Dawn Rippy-Brunton and her husband Roger Brunton live in Shelby, and are members of Emanuel Reformed Church in Lincolnton where the Rev. Susan Smith Walker is the pastor. Walker is also assistant executive director of Exodus Homes, the faith-based United Way agency in Hickory that provides supportive housing for homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prisons. The Bruntons learned about Exodus Homes through Walker and were interested in the organization’s  $1,057,000 capital campaign which is well underway now.  They had operated a gift shop several years ago and when it closed they saved the wireless electronic sign. “We had planned to sell it for a few years, but after I toured their new building and saw their passion for their mission, we decided we would donate it to them” said Dawn Brunton.
Electronic Sign

Seen left to right are the Rev. Susan Smith Walker, Exodus Homes assistant executive director; Roger Brunton; Dawn Rippy-Brunton; the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Exodus Homes executive director; and Catie Brown, Exodus Homes resident and capital campaign coordinator. The 5 ft. wide wireless electronic sign in the middle was donated to Exodus Homes by the Bruntons for their new building at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory which was purchased as part of their three year $1,057,000 capital campaign which is ongoing now.

The new building at 610 4th St. SW has 12,000 sq. ft. and will house the offices of Exodus Homes, the offices of their vocational training enterprises Exodus Works, and their thrift store. The building was purchased last December with a loan from Capital Bank and will be paid off with funds raised in the three year capital campaign. It is being renovated now. They plan to move into the building  in stages, beginning with the thrift store.

The sign is five ft. long and is valued at $3,500. When operational, it will sit inside one of the new display windows and scroll electronic messages to the public about sales, new stock, and special events. “Our new thrift store will be beautiful, and this sign takes it to another level by helping draw people in as they drive by” said the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, executive director of Exodus Homes.
Walker is proud of her Lincolnton church members who appreciate the fact that Exodus Homes has served people from Lincolnton and the Shelby area for many years. “This gift from the Bruntons is a blessing and will add to the landmark appeal of our new building along with our outdoor mural” she said.
Other projects in the Exodus Homes capital campaign include major renovations to all of their housing locations plus newer model vehicles, tools, and equipment for Exodus Works. For more information about Exodus Homes, go to or contact the Rev. Susan Smith Walker at 828-962-8196 or

Mural Artist Transforms New Building for Exodus Homes

HICKORY – James Smith was eight years old in 1997 when his mother, the Rev. Susan Smith Walker, took him to a new church in Hickory shortly after moving there from Charlotte. Exodus Missionary Outreach Church was only three weeks old and meeting in a local funeral home, the Dirk M. Thompson Mortuary Chapel. That was the beginning of a life long relationship with the Exodus ministry. James and his sister Rachael grew up in Exodus Church and were witnesses to the founding of Exodus Homes, the faith based United Way supportive housing program for homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison. His mother worked long hours and James was often there with her at Exodus Homes after school and on the weekends. Smith has seen the struggle of homeless recovering people, and also the joy of their transformation. “My mom has given her life to Exodus, and it is as much a part of me as it is for her.”
Exodus Homes Mural

James Smith is seen with the original outdoor mural he created for the new building of Exodus Homes and Exodus Works at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory.

Today James is a very successful mural artist from Asheville with plans to move to San Diego soon to pursue his dreams. Before he leaves for the west coast he came back to Hickory to spend some time with his mom, and leave his mark on Exodus as they prepare to take the organization to the next level with a $1,057,000 capital campaign which is underway now.  Part of the capital campaign project is the purchase of a 12,000 sq.ft building at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory where the organization plans to consolidate the management activities of Exodus Homes, their vocational training enterprises Exodus Works, and their thrift store. When they bought the building, they decided the 20ft x 40ft outside wall would be perfect for a mural to communicate their mission. “We knew long ago that James would be our mural artist because he is a part of the Exodus family,” said the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, executive director of Exodus Homes.

Exodus Thrift Store Murals

James Smith is seen creating original murals inside the thrift store area of the new Exodus Homes and Exodus Works building at 610 4th St. SW in Hickory.

Exodus Homes and Exodus Works are primarily operated by the residents of the program in volunteer staff roles, and primarily funded with revenue generated by them in Exodus Works, as well as fees paid by those who work in outside employment. One recovering person helping another is at the core of their organizational values. The mural is built around a theme of “transformed people transforming people” with images that show a commitment to diversity and equality for all people.  Smith created the original design, and has been working on the mural for a week. The mural is already blessing the community as people driving by slow down, honk their horns, and shout things like “Amazing!” and Beautiful!”  He still has a few finishing touches to do, while also working on murals inside of the building where the thrift store will be located. “I have designed the murals inside to communicate the miracles of recovery such as joy, gratitude, peace, dignity, and victory. People will feel a part of our ministry when they enter, and leave with an uplifted spirit” he said.

The Rev. Susan Smith Walker is very proud of her son’s work in what is bound to become a Hickory landmark, saying “My son has a God-given gift. He never went to art school or took an art lesson, but he is more talented than many who have trained for years. As he goes to follow his dreams in San Diego, the gift of these murals will bless me with his presence every time I see them.”

Catawba County United Way Helps Fight Opioid Epidemic at Exodus Homes

HICKORY – When people think of Exodus Homes, many times they think about homeless people coming back to the community from jails and prison. The faith-based supportive housing agency agency wants the community to know that they also serve homeless people returning home from substance abuse treatment centers, and the important role United Way plays in stabilizing new residents who are recovering from opioid addiction to pills and heroin. Most detox centers will treat addiction for 4-7 days before discharge and this is not long enough for most people who have have been using opiates heavily. “When they arrive at Exodus Homes, they are sick and shaky. They are still craving opiates, and not able to fully participate in the recovery program for up to 30 days” says the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Exodus Homes executive director.
United Way Logo 2015Thanks to a $35,000 grant from the United Way, they have the ability to support these sick residents until they are strong enough to participate in the program fully, especially in the vocational training program Exodus Works. During the first 30 days at Exodus Homes, United Way funds help support a period of stabilization so they can receive medical care and social services while they rest and get their strength back. “We are very grateful for the United Way. The funds we receive from them enables us to support residents in that critical first 30 days when they are coming back to life” said the Rev. Susan Walker, assistant executive of the agency.

Exodus Homes has been a United Way agency since 2001 and their funding has been a key to success for the organization which is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. For more information about how to apply for the program, call Catie Brown at 828-324-4870 or go to their website The application is under the “Program” tab and it needs to be faxed to 828-324-7983.

The 2017 Honor Cards are available!

Honor Card 2017 Rise Up copyDownload an Honor Card Order Form.  Please print this form and mail it with your check to Exodus Homes P.O. Box 3311, Hickory, N.C. 28603

The Exodus Homes’ 2017 William Mangum Honor Card “Rise Up” is now available for the holidays. North Carolina watercolor artist William Mangum is a hands-on advocate for homeless people, donating his artistic skills and publishing gifts to make The Honor Card one of the most well leveraged charitable programs in the country. When someone buys an Honor Card for $5.00 or more, the card is given to someone to let them know that a gift has been made in their honor to Exodus Homes.  Each card has information about Exodus Homes and about the Honor Card program.

A chance meeting in 1987 with Mike Saavedra, a homeless man, changed Bill Mangum’s perspective on life forever. That outreach gave Bill a new view on how he would use his talent to help those less fortunate. As The Honor Card program continues to grow, Bill employs his artistic gifts, generating resources needed to help solve community problems and meet area needs. In its 30th year the Honor Card is utilized in fourteen cities and has raised nearly $7 million.

Each year, The Honor Card features a contemplative painting by Mangum, one of the most respected and collected artists in the United States. This year’s painting is “Rise Up”, and he hopes 2017 Honor Card sales will help Exodus Homes continue to do great work in providing faith based supportive housing to homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison.

“From the moment I heard it, Andra Day’s powerful, soulful ballad “Rise Up” has resonated with me. She says her goal was to remind each of us of our value and purpose. We’re not here just to exist; you’re here to impact people in their lives. e song has a powerful message, and it is one that genuinely reinforces the purpose of the Honor Card Program.”

Churches and businesses are welcome to pick up packets of cards and displays at the Exodus Homes office. Money raised and any unsold cards left will be collected the week of December 29th. Individuals can buy cards and send them, or request an order form and Exodus Homes will send the cards.

“Rise Up” Honor Cards and order forms are available by clicking this link and downloading an Order Form or in person at the following locations.

  • Exodus Homes, 122 8th Ave Dr. SW, Hickory 28602
  • Exodus Works, 510 1st Ave SW, Hickory 28602
  • SALT Block Art Museum Gift Shop
  • Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse, 29 2nd St. NW Hickory 28601
  • Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, 1055 Southgate Corporate Park, Hickory 28602

Individuals and churches that would like to participate in the Exodus Homes William Mangum Honor Card program can contact Rev. Susan Smith at 828-962-8196 or

Spotlight on Exodus Homes in Charlotte Citywide Community Mass Meeting Honoring the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dale F. Halton Theater, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, N.C., January 18, 2016
Contact: Rev. Reggie Longcrier 828-962-8195 or Rev. Susan Smith Walker 828-962-8196
Rev. Reggie Longcrier and Rev. Susan Walker MLK Service 2016 Charlotte (2)

Seen left to right on the stage at the Dale F. Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. are the Rev. Madeline McClenny-Sadler, Ph. D, President and Founder of Exodus Foundation in Charlotte, the Rev. Susan Smith Walker, Assistant Executive Director, and the Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Executive Director of Exodus Homes in Hickory N.C. Both organizations were co-recipients of the offering collected during the Citywide Community Mass Meeting honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 18, 2016.

The Citywide Community Mass Meeting honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held in Charlotte, N.C. on January 18, 2016 at the Dale F. Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College. The interfaith event featured keynote speaker Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver II from Kansas City Mo. The Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Executive Director, and the Rev. Susan Smith Walker, Assistant Executive Director of Exodus Homes were invited to be on the program as recipients of the offering collected during the service. The Hickory faith-based United Way agency was one of two programs in the spotlight during the program. Many elected officials were in attendance including Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Charlotte community leaders including the Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler of Union Presbyterian Seminary, and Dr. Peter M. Wherry, Senior Pastor of Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church toured Exodus Homes recently and spent the better part of a day learning how they serve homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison. They were so impressed with the comprehensive array of services at Exodus Homes, and their in-house enterprises Exodus Works, that they invited them to be co-recipients of the offering collected at the Citywide Community Mass Meeting honoring Dr. King. The other recipient was Rev. Madeline McClenny-Sadler, Ph. D, President and Founder of Exodus Foundation in Charlotte that provides mentoring services to formerly incarcerated people to stop the flow of African-Americans to prison.

“It was a great honor to be here today and be recognized for the great work we are doing at Exodus Homes. We are especially grateful to receive this honor on the day we remember the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because we consider ourselves Dream Keepers.” said Longcrier.

Exodus Homes’ 12th Annual “Giving Back” Gospel Concert

Featuring the Exodus Missionary Outreach Church Gospel Choir
Directed by Minister of Music Zack Martin
Mistress of Ceremonies Sister Odeehey
Friday January ​8​th, 201​6​7:00pm
Exodus Missionary Outreach Church
1763 Highland Ave NE Hickory 28601

Contact: Rev. Susan Smith Walker 828-962-8196 ​or ​

The 1​2​th Annual ​Exodus Homes’ ​”Giving Back” Concert featuring the renown Exodus Missionary Outreach Church Gospel Choir​ directed by Minister of Music Zack Martin​ is the concert that has become a tradition for many in our area. The Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Executive Director of Exodus Homes says, “The Exodus gospel choir is ​well known for their extraordinary music, and what I love about them most is that they will jump over 10 churches just to get into one prison. They are true servants for the Lord.” For many people, the holidays are not officially over until ​the ​Giving Back ​Gospel ​Concert which is hosted on the first or second Friday of every new year.

The Rev. Susan Smith Walker, Assistant Executive Director of the United Way agency is excited about the 1​2​​th anniversary of the event saying, “​The Exodus Church gospel choir members are ambassadors for our ministry, and their music is the best gift we can give to the many individuals, churches, and businesses who have supported our work.”

​The Prodigal Sons and Daughters gospel group will open the concert with a time for praise and worship. ​The mistress of ceremonies for the concert will be Sister Odeehey, YouTube church lady comedian and Exodus Church member. ​S​pecial awards will be given to outstanding supporters of Exodus Homes and Exodus Church.

The ​concert is free, and the ​public is encouraged to arrive early to get ​a ​good seat. Light refreshments will be served after the concert.

Watch a video of Sister Odeehey below.


2015 Exodus Homes Christmas Lights Festival and Food Crawl

December 7​, 2015​  •  5:30pm – 7:30pm

Exodus Homes  •  122 8th Ave. Dr. SW, Hickory, NC 28602

Contact: Rev. Susan Smith Walker  828-962-8196 or 
HICKORY – The 12​th annual Exodus Homes Christmas Lights Festival and Food Crawl will be held on December 7, 2015 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. It will be a fast paced holiday party at the main location of the United Way agency, 122 8th Ave Dr. SW in Hickory 28602. Ward 4 City Councilmen Hank Guess will light the rooftop Christmas tree at 5:30pm, and then let the fun begin! Stroll around in the beautiful lights while dining on free food donated by Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse, Pizza Hut, Mountain ​Fried Chicken, The Hickory Soup Kitchen, ​and Pepsi Cola. 
The Exodus Church gospel choir and Prodigal Sons and Daughters will sing contemporary and traditional Christmas music. The St. Stephens Step Team “The Saint Steppers” will demonstrate their skills while participants fellowship with family and friends. FREE pictures of children with ​Santa Claus will be available. Mrs. Claus will be on hand too for a family-centered night of fun.
All of the Exodus Homes apartments will be open to the public for tours, and available for the people to go inside with their food and sit awhile. The event is free, but donations are appreciated so they can do it again next year.

Exodus Homes “EVERYTHING FREE” Community Outreach

Community Outreach Feeding The CrowdExodus Homes, a Catawba County United Way agency, will host a special “Everything Free” Community Outreach event on October 4, 2014 from 11:00am – 2:00pm at the Ridgeview Recreation Center 700 1st St SW in Hickory. This will be a lively event with great music and testimonies of recovery from addiction and incarceration to encourage the community that people can learn a new way to live. Exodus Homes has been hosting “Everything Free” Community Outreaches for the past 16 years and many people have reached back for help as a result. The last outreach event in July drew between 500 – 600 people from the Hickory area.

The “Everything Free” giveaway will include free furniture, clothing, Bibles, haircuts, manicures, and face painting for kids, with hot dogs and drinks for all who attend. ALFA will provide free and confidential HIV testing with immediate test results during the event, and the League of Women Voters will offer voter registration. The Republican and Democratic parties have been invited to participate, and candidates running for office will be able to speak to the crowd briefly about what they stand for. BOOST Hickory will be present with information about the upcoming bond referendum.

Exodus Homes Residents Praying the Lord's Prayer TogetherThe Hickory Branch NAACP will be present with opportunities for people to become members or renew their membership. Veterans Helping Veterans will have information about their fellowship and the Stand Down next April. The Umoja Project will have information about the Theology of Inclusion, and Exodus Church clergy will be available to talk one on one with people who need spiritual support and guidance.

For more information about the Exodus Homes “Everything Free” Community Outreach, contact Rev. Susan Smith Walker at or 828-962-8196.

Rev. Reggie Longcrier to Present at Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE)

From Disgrace to Dignity Front Cover JPEG2The Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE), a national organization headquartered in Bedford, Texas is planning a Mid-Atlantic Conference in Greensboro, N.C. September 24-26, 2014. COPE is a professional service organization whose purpose is to train and equip people who work in criminal justice ministries with inmates, their families, victims, formerly incarcerated people, and delinquent juveniles. Their conferences have been held all over the country and overseas in Africa and Ghana.

The Rev. Reggie Longcrier of Hickory wears many hats in the criminal justice movement, and will be a featured speaker at the COPE Mid-Atlantic Conference on September 25, 2014. Longcrier has been the chaplain of Catawba Correctional Center in Newton for 28 years. He is also the founding Executive Director of Exodus Homes, a faith based United Way agency that provides supportive housing for homeless recovering people returning to the community from substance abuse treatment centers and prison.

The three day conference covers many subjects including dealing with family issues, organizational development, using social media for marketing, fund development, human trafficking, pluralism in religious practices within prisons, post incarceration trauma, and many other important topics. Longcrier’s presentation “Non Traditional Faith Based Supportive Housing” is the only one about housing people coming out of jail or prison. It will cover the comprehensive services at Exodus Homes which are primarily provided with guidance and supervision by peer leaders who are residents in the program.

He will show how the housing program partners with many local prisons, and Exodus Missionary Outreach Church where he is the founding pastor. Longcrier will also share how they developed in-house enterprises called Exodus Works that provide vocational training for the unemployed residents while generating income to support the program. Exodus Homes has a national reputation for innovation and effectiveness, and Longcrier has spoken all over the country for years about the unique Exodus model for developing grassroots peer led programs.

Longcrier was incarcerated off and on for 25 years while he battled addiction to cocaine and heroin. Prison ministry programs changed his life, and he tells the story of his transformation in his book “From Disgrace to Dignity” that was published in 2010. Today as chaplain at Catawba Correctional Center in Newton he holds the keys to the prison gate where he was once an inmate.

“I always look forward to the COPE conferences because it brings together the best of the best in criminal justice and prison ministry. I am very honored that they have invited me to present in Greensboro” said Longcrier.

For more information about the COPE conference go to For more information about Exodus Homes or the book “From Disgrace to Dignity”, contact Rev. Reggie Longcrier at 828-962-8195 or or