CHESAPEAKE, VA. -- Jeannette Moyler has a friend in federal drug policy director William J. Bennett.
In a tour Thursday of southeastern Virginia, Bennett paid a visit to Moyler, a Chesapeake woman who founded a drug abuse prevention program called Deliver the Children.
But just hours after Bennett and his entourage left the storefront church in Campostella Shopping Plaza, Moyler had to move out because of lack of money.
Bennett said Friday that he had not realized Moyler was moving out until he read it in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk.
Bennett called the newspaper Friday.
"I did not, in fact, know these facts that Jeannette was going to be moving," Bennett said in an interview. "I wish I had known."
Although Bennett said he did not have any discretionary funds, he said there are federal grants for which Moyler can apply.
He said one of his assistants would get in touch with Moyler soon about how to apply for the grants.
"I don't want to leave the impression that we just come and enthuse," Bennett said. "We can do more than that. There is money, but the wheels of the government grind slowly. That's the way it works. But it's real money."
Moyler said she refrained from telling Bennett she had to move out of the building during their 30-minute discussion Thursday.
"I didn't want to worry Mr. Bennett," she said.
Moyler said her organization will apply for the federal grant. "It's just what we need," she said.
Bennett, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said a total of $50 million is available through a federal program called Comprehensive Community Prevention Grants. He said he hopes that figure will increase to $100 million in the next fiscal year.
"The idea is to help community groups fight against drugs," Bennett said.
A year ago, Moyler and her husband, James, rented a store in the low-income area of Campostella Square to form an organization called Bethel Outreach.
Six months ago, they started Deliver the Children, in which they give breakfasts to youngsters, particularly those whose parents are addicted to drugs.
Moyler said she found another store to rent in Campostella Shopping Plaza on Friday. But the store, which she has permission to use, has been vandalized and needs extensive repairs.
"We still don't have funds for rent or to fix it," she said. "It's been vandalized, but it looks like a palace to me." Bennett said he hoped local groups could help Moyler's program to continue in the short term.