A few weeks ago, Pastor Jesus Santana and the congregation of Centro Cristiano de Adoracion, offered their painting skills to any citizens of Jacksonville who are victims of graffiti.

This Saturday, marks the beginning of their ministry as they set to work, with brushes and rollers in hand, for the first time.

Luis Montes, CCA member and organizer of the graffiti program, said the church has received fours calls for help, so far. Five volunteers from the church, including Montes and Santana, will be involved in Saturday’s clean-up efforts.

“As a church, we are here to meet people’s spiritual needs, but we are also here for other needs, as well. A lot of people have been hurt by graffiti in Jacksonville, and we want to do what we can to help,” Santana said. “It’s not that Jacksonville has a graffiti problem – it’s not about graffiti – it’s more about what is in people’s hearts.”

The first beneficiary of CCA’s charity is Carolyn Faulkner, who says her family is regularly harassed by members of the 13th Street gang. Her house and vehicles were tagged the night of Dec. 9. Faulkner claims to know who is responsible.

“I know the boy who is responsible; he has given me problems since last year, but the Jacksonville police haven’t helped me at all. I have been repeatedly harassed by the 13th Street gang, and I can’t get anyone to help me – it’s just pitiful,” Faulkner said. “I can’t be comfortable in my own home. We just stay in our house, and we are scared to death.”

The words “13th St.” were repeatedly sprayed on Faulkner’s house, as well as, the f-word and “L3” – which suggests the house has been hit by both of Jacksonville’s most prominent gangs. Faulkner’s son’s name was also written on the building beneath the number “187.” In police scanner code, 187 is the radio signal used to designate a homicide.

“I’ve talked to these kids before, and they think they own the place. I’m from the United States, it’s a free country over here, but they don’t understand that,” Faulkner said. “I don’t want my boy to be the next one to get shot.”

Faulkner’s house in southern Jacksonville was sprayed just a few days after the CCA article ran.

“I saw the article in the newspaper, and I try to stay up on the gang information, so when we got sprayed, I called the church,” she said.

The church is providing this service free of charge to graffiti victims, even purchasing its own supplies. Santana welcomes any help that is offered, financial or otherwise.

“Anyone who wants to help us by donating their time or their supplies is welcome to join us,” Santana said.

Those in need of the church’s help can reach Montes at 1-903-834-6086.

or they may write a letter to CCA at 216 E. Bolton St. in Jacksonville.