Posts Tagged Tampa Tribune

Safe Haven program for homeless veterans at New Beginnings of Tampa

New Beginnings ‘weathers the storm’

Safe Haven program for will provide funding to house 10 chronically homeless veterans with mental illness and substance abuse issues in a low-demand, nonintrusive environment at New Beginnings of Tampa.


Special Correspondent for The Tampa Tribune
Published: August 19, 2015 Link to Article on

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Tampa Tribune Letter of the Day: A source of peace in a rough life


Tampa Tribune Letter of The Day: A source of peace in a rough life

I once enjoyed reading my TBT (Tampa Bay Times) every day on my bus ride to work until one day I read an article that could not have been well researched before being printed, and couldn’t be further from the truth. I couldn’t believe the nerve of this paper to print such trash about my pastor, Pastor Tom Atchison of New Beginnings, a true man of God. My first thoughts were, “Why would anyone want to bash someone in print without doing research, without a thought in the world of what ramifications could derive from this attempt to bring down a homeless recovery program that does nothing but good for people daily?”

Let me tell you a story about a man who was DOA at Tampa General with a 103-degree fever and a bad MRSA staph infection, who was resuscitated and packed in ice, then fell into a coma for seven days to awake to a room full of amazed doctors and nurses looking at me like a lab rat or something.

After a few days of observation, a social worker came to see me and asked where I would go upon release. I was homeless at the time, living in the woods behind a day labor place. I had nothing and nowhere to return to. She gave me Pastor Tom’s card for New Beginnings, and a cab voucher. I arrived with a tank top, flip flops and a pair of cut-offs. Nothing else but a strong desire to find God and thank him for this borrowed time.

To make a long story short, he rained blessings on me through my newfound church family. I’ve since changed my whole view of the world, and I give thanks to my savior Jesus Christ for putting God’s children in my life to show me love.

On several more stays at the center, I ended up working my way onto staff as PT’s (Pastor Tom’s) assistant at the church offices, where I slowly earned the pastor’s trust — to the point where every key to every vehicle the church and program owned was in my office. The church’s checkbooks were in my care, which I thoroughly abused upon my relapse. After $2,000 worth of bad checks to my dope man, the gig was up and my crimes were revealed. If I had done these crimes to an average person, I would still be in prison. But my pastor, a true man of God, just made me confess my sins to my probation officer. My violation got me 22 months in prison — far less than my crimes deserved.

During that time my actions caused my pastor some very embarrassing moments, as the bad checks started coming in, which was no fault of his. This man of God actually took me back in when I got out of prison.

 All this said, I can’t think of one bad thing to say about Pastor Tom and the whole New Beginnings/New Life Pentecostal Church family. This story just scratches the surface of my many stories about this place. Everyone there is human and will make mistakes, but no one there is out to get anyone. They want souls to find God as the source of peace in a rough life, steering these less fortunate people on the path to recovery.

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The truth about New Beginnings of Tampa in the Tampa Tribune

New Beginnings of Tampa articles were on the front page of another newspaper late last year that caused many people to believe that New Beginnings was exploiting the homeless.

A federal investigation for slave trafficking and violation of labor laws was ordered as a result of the newspaper articles.

Click here to read more about it on the Tampa Tribune’s website

The Federal investigation is now over. After the United States of America Department of Labor carefully and extensively examined financial records and interviewed several employees and clients, it was concluded that there are NO VIOLATIONS OF RECORD KEEPING OR LABOR LAWS.

Now that New Beginnings has been vindicated we are thankful to a paper such as The Tampa Tribune for showing an unbiased courtesy with the printing of the truth.

New Beginnings has survived but had to cut a lot of services because of the loss of income caused by these bogus articles in the Tampa Bay Times subjectively persuaded public opinion that New Beginnings was guilty until proven innocent.

If you would like to help you may now donate to New Beginnings of Tampa safely and securely online via PayPal. (No PayPal account needed) Or you may contact us directly.

Thank you all for your unwavering support of New Beginnings of Tampa.

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We’re not slaves, we choose to work

new-beginnings-of-tampa-stand-for-truth-work-is-not-a-dirty-wordNew Beginnings’ clients working at RayJay again after federal probe

By Mike Salinero | Tribune Staff
Published: December 29, 2014


TAMPA — Workers from New Beginnings, a Christian work-therapy program for substance abusers, again are selling concessions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers games — but under different conditions.

The workers lost their jobs when Aramark, the company that provides concessions at Raymond James Stadium, suspended its contract with New Beginnings. The company said in a letter it temporarily was ending the relationship because of media reports that the money workers made at the stadium went to room and board at the nonprofit operation.

At about the same time, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner asked the federal government to investigate whether New Beginnings was exploiting the workers. The Department of Labor recently finished its probe, but the findings have not been released.

Now the New Beginnings residents are back working Bucs games in greater numbers than under the Aramark contract. The men were hired by All Team Staffing, a temporary help agency, to work the Buccaneers’ final home games, against the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

“We got them more work than what they were doing before because we do cleanup afterward in addition to concessions,” said Bill Clark, office manager for All Team Staffing. Clark said he got no complaints from Aramark about hiring the New Beginnings residents.

“They were all well-mannered and very respectful,”
Clark said.

The Rev. Tom Atchison, the Pentecostal preacher who founded New Beginnings, said the arrangement through All Team Staffing is better than the Aramark contract because the workers get paychecks with taxes and Social Security taken out. Aramark pays money directly to charities that send volunteers to work the games.

“The long-term effect of the guys working will be it gets them full-time jobs,” Atchison said. “That remains one of our goals. We’re really happy because we’ve got more work than we ever had.”

Atchison said the men who work the football games will not have to turn their paychecks over to him. But residents who get a full-time job are supposed to pay $150 a week for their room, board and counseling.

If they don’t have a job, they work cleaning or cooking at the organization’s transitional housing in North Tampa or at one of several businesses run by New Beginnings. That’s all part of the program’s work therapy, Atchison said.

It’s about them; it’s about their recovery,” he said. “Guys working is a major part of their recovery. If our guys leave the program with a backpack on and no money in their pocket, their chance of relapsing is pretty great.

new-beginnings-of-tampa-stand-for-truth-the-tampa-times-liesAtchison said All Team Staffing contacted New Beginnings about hiring men for the games because many of them were already trained and certified in food and beverage sales under the Aramark contract and have had criminal background checks. About 40 to 45 New Beginnings residents are slated to work the Outback Bowl at the stadium on New Year’s Day, he said.

The media reports also caused Centerplate, the food and beverage service at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, to suspend its contract with New Beginnings.

But Atchison said he hopes to re-establish that relationship before the Tampa Bay Rays start playing baseball at the stadium in April.

“They just put it on hold,” Atchison said of the Centerplate suspension. “We’re not even concerned about that yet.”

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New Beginnings of Tampa founder Tom Atchison wins Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Inititive Award

Local heroes win awards

New Beginnings of Tampa founder Tom Atchison named Local Hero through Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Inititive Award


The Rev. Tom Atchison sees long-term drug and alcohol addiction treatment as “hard moments and good times.”

Atchison founded New Beginnings Tampa Inc., a treatment facility, in 2000.

The organization at 1402 E. Chilkoot Ave. provides transitional housing, substance abuse counseling, emergency shelter and a program that provides about 2,000 meals a week to homeless people.

For his nine years of volunteer work, Atchison recently was named one five Local Heroes through the Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Awards. A $5,000 donation will be given to the nonprofit organization in his honor.

Atchison was given the award Nov. 4 at the Tampa Theatre. He told the crowd, many of whom were former clients, that addiction treatment is difficult. There are “times when we think we are making progress and then things fall apart.”

But the successes help keep him going.

The organization also sponsors housing for foster children aging out of the foster-care system and is about to begin work on remodeling a house for female veterans and their children. It has helped more than 4,000 people in its nine-year history.


Report done by LENORA LAKE Tampa Tribune
Published: November 11, 2009   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 06:22 PM

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