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Posted: October 9, 2012 8:52 p.m.

The Shelter

Last week, the local homeless shelter experienced a crisis that looked like it would only turn into a dead end for the 49 souls who are currently depending on it to provide a roof over their heads and food to eat.

Included in this group are many children, who shouldn't have to live in fear that they may or may not have some place to live or have something to eat.

The local shelter, run by Reverend Clair Lett, has been in operation for the past nine years and served by a board of directors filled with good-hearted men and women. Members of this board have stepped up on several occasions and written checks from their own checkbooks to keep the shelter in operation.

The problem has been during those nine years, no accountability and no planning has been set in place to ensure money is readily available to handle the needs of our needy families.

Because of $5,000 plus utility bill owed to the city of Covington, the shelter was on the verge of closing its doors last week. In addition to that bill was another $5,000 plus utility bill due this week.

Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston approached the media in town and put his political capital on the line and for all practical purposes, begged the people of Newton County to give from their hearts and help keep the shelter open. His faith in the goodness of residents' hearts was reaffirmed.

In one day, more than $18,000 was donated to keep the shelter open.

We salute the mayor for this effort; he had complete trust that the caring people of Newton County would come through and they did.

The mayor also realizes in order to strengthen the foundation of the shelter so this type of crisis won't happen again, a new and revitalized board needs to be put in place.

This will be a tough chore for the mayor because no one wants to hurt the feelings of those who have served.

The mayor and Commissioner Linear Sims have agreed to serve on a new board and will work on bringing organizational skills to this PR-worthwhile project.

If you have any interest in serving on this board or volunteering your services in other ways contact the mayor at rjohnston@cityofcovington.org; (770) 262-1001 or commissioner Sims at (770) 787-7876; lsims@co.newton.ga.us.
In these days of economic stress, we all need to share in taking care of the welfare of those who need it the most.

A strong homeless shelter in our midst is not a sign of shame or despair, but a sign that we are a type of community that cares and rises to the occasion to do something about it.

 

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