Tony Stapleton has been trying to finish a new dormitory at TNT Ranch in Orange Grove for almost two years. Once completed, it will have several dorm rooms to be used by the homeless and the addicted in South Mississippi.
The structure of the building is completed. A sprinkler system, which is required by law, has been installed. But there is still work to be done.
For the past two years, Stapleton has been raising money for the building. And through various fundraising events and private donations, Stapleton said the end is in in sight.
But he still needs about $13,000 to finish the building.
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“We have some of the sprinkler system in but we need to get some more money to finish it,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for so long and we are almost there.”
One would have to admire Stapleton’s spirit and his tenacity. His mission is simple -- he wants to give the shelter to the homeless and he wants to help addicts and alcoholics get clean and sober and put away the drugs and alcohol.
He wants to help people get their lives back.
Stapleton has owned and operated TNT Ranch for almost 20 years. He said that he’s seen changes in drug trends over the years.
“Use to, we just saw a lot of people abusing cocaine and marijuana and alcohol, and we learned how to deal with that,” he said. “But these days, we see a lot of people addicted to meth and prescription drugs and even stuff like spice and bath salts.”
And Stapleton said he is determined to finish his latest building.
“We have to get these people off the streets, that’s the first step,” he s aid. “We have a big problem down here and we can’t turn our backs on these people that need help.”
To help raise the needed funds, Terry Gentry of Big Pig BBQ in Long Beach will donating all of his proceeds from his food truck to TNT through Monday.
“Terry has helped us before and he’s stepping in again,” Stepleton said. “We have some really good food and we hope everyone will come out and see us and support the Ranch.”
Big Pig BBQ is located at the intersection of Beatline Road and Daughtery Road. Stapleton said they will be serving BBQ every day until dark.
Jeff Clark is a staff writer for the Sun Herald.