Next Step Initiative Helps Those Struggling with Addiction and Homelessness

Known as ‘The Sisters’ Abbie Arbach and her sister Rebecca Parr co-founded Next Step Initiative to reach out to those struggling with homelessness and drug addiction. Thanks to a recent grant, Parr was able to purchase a van for Arbach to collect food donations and distribute to people.

Hugs are always in endless supply at Next Step Initiative.

Next Step Initiative collects food donations and invites the homeless to come and choose what they need. Jim Bryant picks out some food on Jan. 3, 2020 at the new Next Step Initiative center at 201 Ogle Ave. in South Knoxville.

Rebecca Parr, co-founder of Next Step Initiative, meets with administrator Natalie Wright. Sustainable Futures offered the use of the space for their offices, and money provided by a grant from HepConnect Harm Reduction Gilead Pharma allowed Parr and her sister to hire Wright as an administrator to organize their efforts.

Cameron Henshaw, serving with AmeriCorps Vista is helping Next Step Initiative collect data. Henhaw, left, pictured with Next Step Initiative co-founder Rebecca Parr.

Next Step Initiative has been given space to work thanks to Sustainable Futures. From left: founder Rebecca Parr, facilities coordinator Paige Lamb, founder Addie Arbach with Nancy Barber. All pitch in to hand out food and meet other needs such as clothing donation, and laundry facilities. Jan. 3, 2020.

Hugs are in endless supply at Next Step Initiative, according to sisters and co-founders Abbie Arbach, left, and Rebecca Parr. “The most important thing we do is give a lot of love and compassion,” said Parr. “Building people up and decreasing the stigma. We work with a lot of active drug users, to help them start to believe in themselves and to remember their value.”

Next Step Initiative co-founder Abbie Arbach in her center at 201 Ogle Ave. The tiny house provides a safe place for people to hang out, shower, shave and receive clean clothes and personal hygiene products if they need them.

Next Step Initiative co-founder Abbie Arbach hands food to Alex Wallace and Nicholas Dillander, who have stopped by to hang out at the new center at 201 Ogle Ave.

Joey Esslinger and Christy Hurston make a plate of food during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Alexis Arbach and Rebecca Parr set food on the table during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Fresh salad is served during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Christy Hurston collects her bag of Easter eggs during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Christy Hurston participates in an Easter egg hunt during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Participants dye Easter eggs during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

The bicycle of Bill Carpenter rests against a tree during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

From left, brothers Taylor and Nathan Gaboda share a lunch with Bill Carpenter during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

A plate of dessert is offered at an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

An Easter egg sits in a swing during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Bella Arbach hides Easter eggs in the park during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville on April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

An Easter bunny cake during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Joey Esslinger makes a plate of food during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Participants dye Easter eggs during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Bella Arbach hides Easter eggs in the park during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Christy Hurston, left, and Joey Esslinger say a prayer before an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Addie Arbach holds the "prize egg" during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Rebecca Parr helps unwrap food during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

Addie Arbach dyes eggs with attendees during an Easter lunch for the homeless at Sam A. Duff Park in South Knoxville in Tennessee on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The lunch was organized by Next Step Initiative which provides contextualized life rehabilitation pathways for the homeless and those addicted to drugs.

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