FaithWorks, a ministry to those in need sponsored by 34 local churches, has reached a milestone in its service to Newton County, according to Bob Furnad, Chairman.
"In a little over three and one-half years that FaithWorks has been open, over $500,000 — largely provided by member churches — has been distributed to landlords and utility providers on behalf of individuals and families in crisis," he said. "Newton County is blessed with many, many caring individuals and community-minded churches that have made this possible, and we are deeply grateful."
Executive Director Dennis Cheek said this amount — $504,177, to be exact — has benefited some 9,246 individuals in the 3,268 applications approved for payment. "The average rate of assistance has remained around $150 per approved application," he added.
This good news, however, cannot overshadow the fact that FaithWorks was closed four days in July for lack of funds, and already in August, the ministry has been closed for one day with the real possibility of more.
"We typically experience a shortage of funds in early fall — usually September — but this year, the situation has occurred two months early," said Furnad. "We realize, of course, that many of our sponsoring churches are facing their own financial difficulties, and we pray for them as well."
Still, closing the doors of the ministry comes at a critical time for those in deepest need, Cheek noted. "In July, we approved for payment some 105 applications, the highest number since September 2008," he said. "We are particularly cognizant of the fact that many of those coming to us now are people who have worked their whole lives and now find themselves without jobs and hope."
FaithWorks is located at 7129 Turner Lake Circle SW in Covington, phone (770) 784-1884. Normal hours of operation are 9-11:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday for applications.