More than 50 volunteers from New Creation Church in Banning and Beaumont helped demolish a trailer home Saturday in Cabazon that had been used by members of a residential rehab program run by Set Free Yucaipa.
"We just came out to help Set Free," said Juan De La Fuente Jr., 40, communications pastor for New Creation Church. "They had code issues and we're doing our Exhale 2012 project. We'll be doing this in our community for the whole year, once a month."
Some Cabazon to the county last year about Set Free clients in their neighborhood. In December county code enforcement issued abatement notices on several Set Free properties, Pastor Willie Dalgity of Set Free Yucaipa said in a previous interview.
The trailers and add-ons operated by Set Free in Cabazon for the past 17 years housed 30 to 40 men, Dalgity said.
Other Cabazon residents spoke up for Set Free, saying they do in the Pass area and other communities.
Jessica Thompson, 31, lives across Maxine Avenue from the Set Free trailer that was demolished Saturday.
"I grew up in Cabazon since I was 16, and I moved here last week, but Set Free's always taken care of everybody," Thompson said as she watched the volunteers. "It's a good program. They take care of a lot of men and women and children.
"I am disappointed to see that place go, because I don't want to see them leave Cabazon," Thompson said. "Some people say negative things but I've known people that come out of Set Free.
"A person very close in my life is a Set Free person," Thompson said. "She had her children in there. She is no longer a drug addict. She has all of her children. Her daughter graduated high school. She has her own house now. She's doing just fine. . . .
"I just say God bless Set Free," Thompson said. "I don't want them to leave Cabazon. I encourage them to stay here and continue to do what they do. They feed us. When we don't have food we can go to them and they give us food. They take care of their own community. They're the best."
In December, Dalgity said Set Free intended to take down the Cabazon properties that were not up to code. It was not clear Saturday whether church officials had secured other housing in Cabazon for their rehab clients, or if they intended to move the rehab program elsewhere.
"I thank all the people that come out to help Set Free," Thompson said. "Set Free gives to everybody and to see people coming out and giving back to Set Free, it's amazing."
About 55 New Creation volunteers, from age 7 to 65, took part in the project Saturday on Maxine Avenue, De La Fuente said.
"Last month we did a project in Banning," De La Fuente said. "We're doing this one in Cabazon, and it's just to help the community out is all it is. That's what we're here to do. To give life away, as we're calling it. . . .
"The last project we did, someone put it on the Patch," De La Fuente said. "City officials mentioned the Set Free issues and so we contacted them and the Set Free people were very thankful for us to come out."
New Creation Church has campuses in Beaumont, Banning and Yucca Valley.
For more information about New Creation, visit www.newcreationca.org or call (951) 922-2471.
For more information about Set Free, visit www.setfreerocks.com or call (909) 446-0033.