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Auction will benefit countys hungry
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Members of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal held auctions at the church before, but this is the first time the Covington church is hosting a live and silent auction for the general public.

The neighbor-helping-neighbor auction will be held at the National Guard Armory on the corner of Carroll and Clark streets in Covington Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. Money raised will help expand the church’s outreach programs, including a sack lunch program, school backpack giveaways, support for other churches food pantries and program, and service to members of the National Guard unit and their families.

The auction, said Suzanne Grace, publicity chair for the church’s outreach, is “brand new. Last year, we had a rummage sale, but we decided we wanted to do something fancier and a little more fun.”

Among items to be auctioned are green fees and golf cart rentals, a used car and baskets full of items from local merchants. Raffles for furniture, paintings and other items will also be held, she said.

“The live auction will be relatively small,” she said, “because our feeling is the fun is having some refreshments, talking to people and looking at the items up for silent auction. The live auction will be held at the end of the evening.

“The whole purpose is to raise money for our neighbors in town and to have a good time,” she said.

One of the ways money raised from the auction will help the church’s neighbors is through its sack lunch program.

Sack lunch Saturday

On the last Saturday of the week, volunteers gather to make sack lunches that will be distributed in the neighborhood. “We make 300 sandwiches and walk down [Clark] Street and hand out [sack lunches] to families,” Grace said. “Often we’ll meet someone who doesn’t have food for their family until their food stamps are available again, so we’ll give them one of those food boxes [from Action Ministries].

“People know we’re coming,” she said. “We used to go to the high rise, but now so many people in our neighborhood come, there’s nothing left over.”

The sack lunches contain a sandwich, chips, a piece of fruit and a bottle of water. The items are either donated or purchased from money donated for the outreach, she said.

In a release for the auction, Grace said, “In 2014, the poverty rate in Newton County was 19.4 percent. Research from tells us that 49 percent of ‘food-insecure’ people in Newton County were below the food stamp threshold … And it’s not just children.”

She said an increasing number of senior households are living in poverty, and the elderly are much less likely to receive help through food stamps than non-elderly households.

“It’s important to know there are hungry people in our midst,” she said.

Serving the National Guard

In addition to outreach programs like the sack lunches and backpacks for school-aged children, Grace said the church provides Christmas dinner for the troops and families of the local National Guard unit.

“We want to maintain and increase [the service] with the National Guard unit across the street,” she said. “We’re a designated church so if there are needs in that unit, the chaplain contacts our church. Last year we had a Christmas dinner for the unit and their families.”

She said the hope is that money raised through the auctions and raffle will allow them to do more for the unit.

“Christ told us to feed His sheep,” she said, “to care for one another. That’s one of the great commandments — to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.

“We expect [the auction] to be a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a great chance for people to see friends in town, have a good time and it’s for a good cause.”