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Monday, October 28, 2013

Who is the Group Soliciting Door to Door in Fort Thomas?

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Martha Oliver was addicted to heroin at 25 years old in California.

"I was so bad off that I had a baby in a hotel room by myself. I didn't care about anything other than how I was going to get my next high," said Oliver, who is now an administrator at The Cincinnati Restoration Church on Harrison Avenue in Colerain. 

The church's mission according to its website is that they are "missionaries to drug addicts." The church's founder and pastor, and his wife, are Rick and Carmen Garcia. According to Oliver they started off helping drug addicts in Pure Valley California before founded the Restoration Church in Indianapolis, finally ending up in Cincinnati 16 years ago. Solely off of donations from neighboring cities, the group houses, feeds and clothes up to 60 men and women in a 3-story building in Colerain. They have 5 vans to help transport them and their electric bill is typically "a four-digit number."

They currently have 25 men and 6 women in their care.

Now they are in Fort Thomas on their third city issued permit that will take them through the end of 2013. The permit allows them to go door to door to solicit funds for the church. They do not take any government assistance because according to Oliver, "We couldn't say certain things to the men and women who come into the church. It would be a watered down version of the Bible. For example, we couldn't say that homosexuality is a sin."

The group does not "detox" with drugs. They do not allow smoking. They simply use their version of the Bible and do their best to "keep them comfortable." Their message to those who come into their care is simple: "Only God can change a drug addict."

The group's strategy of going door-to-door is new. "We're aware of the burglaries and that people might be scared to open their doors, but we've had more good feedback than bad. I couldn't believe it. We get a lot of checks from Fort Thomas."

For the past 16 years, the group had been setting up in parking lots with their candy, water bottles and pamphlets in order to raise money. "It would take one phone call from a property manager to the police and we'd have to leave. That's why we are trying permitting and going door to door," said Oliver.

"We are getting the most response financially from the Dayton area and Fort Thomas," said Oliver.

In an act that Oliver highlighted as an extreme act of kindness, she detailed the donation of a college football player in the Dayton area, who gave a duffle bag full of $10,000 in cash to a resident of the church, who had only been off of drugs for 6 weeks.

"He called me and asked me what I should do," said Oliver. "I told him to bring it home immediately. I was more scared that as a recent addict with that kind of access to cash, that he would die."

More information on the Cincinnati Restoration Church is available through a simple Google search.


  1. Perhaps the city should investigate a bit before providing permits to charitable groups. From the BBB:

    "This charitable organization either has not responded to written BBB requests for information or has declined to be evaluated in relation to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability."

  2. Thank you posting this article about this group. Now I know to NOT give them any money. Especially if they preach that homosexuality is a sin. I'll spread the word to friends and family. This is a bit scary.

  3. So, they don't want to pay to belong to the BBB.. I'm okay with that..

    Not sure of this theme that the city should decide who can solicit, other than to screen for criminal conduct. Personally, I don't want the city to decide free speech issues, as my taxes are used to defend those cases, once they go to court (see McCafferty case file fiasco).

    Also, no problem with religious organizations espousing their beliefs. I don't have to agree with them, or give them money, but I certainly support their freedom of speech.

  4. Wait - a college football player had a duffel bag with $10,000 in cash? What?

  5. As of 3/2015 this org. is NOT an approved 501C3 org.