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Covington Town Center hotel builder donating money for churches’ holiday events
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From left are Pastor Lewis Logan (St. Paul), Pastor Bryan Alexander (Zion), Pastor Frank Daws (Zion), Commissioner Demond Mason, Dave Bernd, Pastor Eddie Tomlinson (Good Hope), Elsie Bell (Faith of Jesus), and Natarsha Nolley (Faith of Jesus). - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — An area company playing a part in bringing the Covington Town Center to life has donated money that four west Newton churches will use to host holiday events this year.

Premier Petroleum Hospitality has donated $2,500 to District 2 County Commissioner Demond Mason who is dividing the money between four west Newton County churches as part of a "Newton County Holiday Event," Mason said.

"I have decided to take these funds and partner with four community-driven churches in District 2, to help with our continued efforts with giving back to our community during the holiday season," Mason said. 

The churches include Faith of Jesus Ministries, Good Hope Baptist Church, St. Paul A.M.E. Church and Zion Baptist Church.

Dave Bernd of Premier Petroleum Hospitality said the Duluth-based company has "reinforced one of its core values" this holiday season by "giving back to the communities it has a presence in."

"In any community we're in, we like to give back to the community," Bernd said.

Pastor Lewis Logan of St. Paul A.M.E. Church said the money will help it buy 100 holiday meals it will offer to the community as part of its work to ease food insecurity in the area.

Pastor Bryan Alexander of Zion Baptist said it will help the church buy toys for the annual Toys for Tots campaign, give gift cards to the less fortunate and partner with area schools on holiday assistance efforts.

Premier Petroleum Hospitality is investing $50 million to build the Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott hotels within the mixed-use Covington Town Center development at I-20 and Alcovy Road in Covington, he said. 

Bernd, who led the Newton County Industrial Development Authority in recent years, said his familiarity with Mason's community work prompted him to contact the commissioner when deciding how to distribute the money.

Mason has led and organized such recent projects as "Clean Up Newton," a job and housing initiative for the homeless, a free movie series and bi-monthly food giveaway at Denny Dobbs Park, and a mentoring effort through Newton Mentoring Inc. that was founded by the late Judge Horace Johnson. 

"These community activities propelled him and Premier Petroleum to partner with me on a community holiday event," Mason said.