Lo­cal min­istries of­fer hol­i­day help

Lo­cal min­istries of­fer as­sis­tance to those in need dur­ing the hol­i­days

The Covington News - - Front page - By Chris Queen news@cov­news.com

Dur­ing the hus­tle and busy­ness of the hol­i­days, it’s easy to over­look the fact that many peo­ple in the com­mu­nity need help.

If you want to do your part this sea­son, there are sev­eral out­lets and min­istries in Newton County in need of your ser­vices.

For ex­am­ple, Solid Rock Bap­tist Church, 8111 Brown Bridge Road, op­er­ates three min­istries that cater to peo­ple in need. Will­ing Helpers Food Pantry pro­vides food for a do­na­tion of $ 8 to those who lack the money to pur­chase gro­ceries, Will­ing Helpers Med­i­cal Clinic pro­vides med­i­cal ser­vices for those who oth­er­wise could not af­ford it, and Rock­Mart Thrift Store sells do­nated items at dis­count prices, with the pro­ceeds help­ing home­less men.

Its food pantry ac­cepts any and all food items. Di­rec­tor Jack Van­derzwart says that the min­istry is par­tic­u­larly pas­sion­ate about help­ing chil­dren who are at home alone un­til their par­ents get home from work. Items such as peanut but­ter, jelly, fruit cups, fresh fruit and other snacks that kids can pre­pare them­selves are es­pe­cially wel­come.

“ I don’t know what it is about Newton County, but the peo­ple here are very re­spon­sive to the needs of oth­ers,” said Van­derzwart. “ This year the schools have been col­lect­ing for the food banks, and the chil­dren have been ab­so­lutely won­der­ful. The an­nual Postal Ser­vice col­lec­tion and the coun­ty­wide food drive in March are al­most over­whelm­ing in the re­sponse we get.”

The med­i­cal clinic is in need of de­vices to check choles­terol and blood-clot­ting times.

One sug­ges­tion for those in­ter­ested in do­nat­ing to the thrift store is to do­nate items that are re­placed by Christ­mas gifts, such as cloth­ing, toys, and ap­pli­ances. Rock­Mart also re­con­di­tions old ap­pli­ances.

“ I thor­oughly en­joy serv­ing those in need at this time of year,” said Van­derzwart. “I only wish peo­ple would re­mem­ber that most of these folks are in need year round and not just dur­ing the hol­i­days.”

You can bring do­na­tions to the church. To vol­un­teer, call ( 678) 342-3434 for the food pantry or med­i­cal clinic or ( 770) 784-0982 for the thrift store.

An­other min­istry with a pres­ence in Newton County is one whose pro­file is raised dra­mat­i­cally dur­ing the hol­i­days. The Sal­va­tion Army’s bell ringers and ket­tles are ubiq­ui­tous at stores through­out the weeks lead­ing to Christ­mas. The Sal­va­tion Army also op­er­ates a do­na­tion cen­ter and thrift store in Cov­ing­ton. Ac­cord­ing to Jody Carver, Di­rec­tor of the Sal­va­tion Army’s store and do­na­tion cen­ter, the bulk of its do­na­tions for the year come in at Christ­mas.

“ This is the time of year that peo­ple dig deep into their pock­ets and give mon­e­tary do­na­tions, along with do­na­tions of food, cloth­ing, house­hold items, and new toys for Christ­mas,” said Carver. “ These do­na­tions have to last for the next year, be­cause peo­ple are in need 12 months of the year de­spite do­na­tions drop­ping off af­ter the hol­i­days.”

The Sal­va­tion Army gives food to hun­gry fam­i­lies. Cloth­ing and house­hold do­na­tions go di­rectly to fam­i­lies in need or are sold at the store at a min­i­mal cost. Pro­ceeds from the store help lo­cal fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als with rent, util­i­ties, and pre­scrip­tions. The Sal­va­tion Army also gives toys to chil­dren and serves se­nior cit­i­zens.

“Any do­na­tion to­day means feed­ing some­one to­mor­row, cloth­ing some­one to­mor­row, help­ing some­one keep their lights on for an­other 30 days, help­ing a fam­ily avoid evic­tion for an­other month, or get­ting much needed life sav­ing pre­scrip­tions for a pa­tient,” said Carver.

There are plenty of ways for peo­ple to get in­volved with the Sal­va­tion Army this Christ­mas sea­son. In­di­vid­u­als or fam­i­lies can vol­un­teer to ring a bell at a store in Cov­ing­ton or to help sort items at the do­na­tion cen­ter. Mon- etary do­na­tions are al­ways wel­come, and do­na­tions of new or used toys, cloth­ing, and other house­hold items or ap­pli­ances will help fam­i­lies in need through­out Newton County.

To do­nate items, visit the do­na­tion cen­ter at 5193 Washington St., from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. Mon­day-Satur­day. Any­one who is in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing can call the Sal­va­tion Army at ( 770) 786-2107.

Chris Queen/The Cov­ing­ton News

Sea­son for shar­ing: The hol­i­day sea­son can be rough on some fam­i­lies, so sev­eral lo­cal min­istries are do­ing ev­ery­thing in their power to pro­vide food and other ne­ces­si­ties to fam­i­lies in need. Above, a min­istry worker uses a fork­lift to move dozens of boxes of do­nated food.

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