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Donors answer shelters need
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The Covington homeless shelter will keep its doors open for at least a couple more months after 21 residents/couples, churches and organizations answered the call for money and donated $14,276 beginning
Sept. 1.

Working on a bare-bones budget, the Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter had $5,271 in the bank as of Monday, according to its profit and loss statement, after paying off its expenses, including making a salary payment to the shelter’s director, the Rev. Clara Lett, according to shelter Board of Directors member Sam Ramsey.

"I’m amazed at how people have responded so far. There are just a lot of Newton County folks that when there’s a need, they respond," Ramsey said.

However, while the donations received — in addition to $395 paid by shelter residents and $3,600 from the shelter’s participation in the re-entry parole program — will likely cover bills through the end of the month and into November, Ramsey said the need is constant and he asked people to keep giving.

"It’s just a constant thing when you don’t have money and there’s no money coming in from the government; that makes it difficult," Ramsey said.

For 2013, through Monday, the shelter had received $81,100 in income and had $75,829 in expenses.

Donations can be brought by Ramsey’s Furniture, 1145 Clark St. SW, Covington, or made directly to the shelter, 7133 Turner Lake Circle SW, Covington, including online via PayPal at the shelter’s new website,

The new website was created by new volunteer Donovon Carter, an IT professional with experience in nonprofits throughout the Atlanta area and the Southeast, who also was appointed to the shelter’s board of directors at Monday’s meeting.

"Having worked within the nonprofit community for the last two years, I’ve been able to get a glimpse at how important nonprofits are to the local community, and how vital they are to people who are in need," Carter said. "As someone who has lived in Newton County for 15-plus years, and who plans to live here longer, I want to make sure that issues like homelessness are properly addressed, which means people getting out and doing what they can to make a difference.

"When I was presented with the opportunity to join the board of the shelter on Monday night, I saw a chance to work closely with people that want to do something, not just talk about what should be done.

"Those are the people I want to be like, and I cannot think of a better or more urgent cause to stand up for than homelessness in Newton County. "

Carter has created a website that includes an updated history and calendar of events that will continue to be updated. The site features a list of items needed for donation, including a Paypal option for financial contributions.

In addition to monetary donations, the shelter also needs towels and washcloths, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, body lotion, men’s razors, men’s and women’s undergarments (all sizes), laundry detergent, bath tissue, baby diapers (all sizes), paper towels and 30- and 60-gallon trash bags. One larger item that is needed is a walk-in freezer and/or large storage freezer.