South Jersey Aftercare (SJA)
On June 27, 1997 Bill Antinore pled guilty in Federal Court in Camden, NJ to theft of government funds. On June 1st of that same year, unbeknownst to Bill, a group of men began meeting monthly at Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church in Turnersville, New Jersey. They called themselves “South Jersey Aftercare”, and they began gathering, with the sole purpose of helping men, from a Christian perspective, after their release from prison. From very modest beginnings, South Jersey Aftercare has grown from a small outreach ministry to one with Christ-centered transitional housing, mentoring, discipleship and much more. For more details concerning the birth and growth of South Jersey Aftercare, click HERE.
My Father’s Hands (MFH)
In 2002, the Lord burdened Bill’s heart to begin reaching out to people on the street in Camden. First, this was by meeting practical needs with items such as food and clothing and then, as the Lord would allow, talking about and sharing the reason for the hope that he has through his relationship with the Lord. Bill and Brenda began talking to other Christians about this burden and soon had a small team of individuals who were similarly burdened. So each month, on the third Sunday, they began showing up on the sidewalk alongside the CVS on Martin Luther King Blvd…the Lord took those early steps and began to grow that as well. To read more about the growth of MFH, click HERE.
She Has a Name (SHAN)
The part of the ministry that is now known as “She Has a Name” had its beginnings in the summer of 2005. On a 95°F day in the middle of the summer, Bill and Brenda were driving through Camden on Broadway. Almost simultaneously, the Lord gave them eyes to see the girls standing on the corners. Between the drug use, dehydration, and scorching humid temperatures, the girls looked as though they were about to die. By God’s grace, Bill and Brenda decided immediately to attempt to meet a physical need. They drove back to their home in West Deptford, New Jersey, filled an igloo cooler with a case of bottled water, and packed it with ice. They then headed back down to Broadway and began driving north from Morgan Boulevard. To see what happened next and what the Lord did with this branch of the ministry, click HERE.
Seeds of Hope
As the Lord continued to grow the various parts of the ministry (South Jersey Aftercare, My Father’s Hands and She Has A Name) people were getting confused. In an effort to simplify things, in 2010 an Advisory Board was formed. They prayed about a new ministry name that would not only be an umbrella name over the three parts of the ministry but would also tie them together based upon what each was attempting to do. In 2010, after much prayer and discussion, the trustees determined to name the ministry “Seeds of Hope.” Today, all three ministries operate under the general name of Seeds of Hope while maintaining their specific identities based upon the people that the Lord has called each part to serve. In 2011, the Advisory Board recommended and implemented an oversight group – our Board of Trustees—and that continues today. Years ago that the Lord placed a burden on our hearts to consider opening a thrift store to help support the work that the Lord has called us to do. That became a reality in 2011 when we opened Hope Thrift in Stratford, New Jersey. We didn’t want it to be “just another thrift store”… We wanted it to be another ministry/mission base where the people shopping there could receive care, prayer and comfort in addition to great deals on great products. The Lord has blessed those efforts and in November 2015 we opened a second location – Hope Thrift II – in Brooklawn, New Jersey. Both stores act as ministry/mission bases with prayer areas located in each of them. Click HERE to visit the Hope Thrift website.
To read a more detailed version of how the ministry began—in its entirety–please click HERE.