Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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COVID-19 Is Impacting Those Who Are Homeless Too
By Editor Becky Watts

ZEBULON - Pike County Times was contacted by a homeless woman from Texas at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She is living in a vehicle in a parking lot because she is disabled and has nowhere else that she can go because of a situation that is not under her control involving the loss of her disability.

She has spoken to government representatives from the mayor to her state representative and has had no luck remedying her situation. She has filled out all kinds of paperwork but pointed out that so many places are closed because of the coronavirus.

There are no answers to 800 numbers and brick walls everywhere. She said that she has exhausted everything that she can trying to get help. “It’s frustrating. I should not be here.”

How does the coronavirus affect her in her situation? She has an underlying condition and is not able to wash her hands as much as she would like. “I am terrified,” she said. She is using a bottle of rubbing alcohol to wash down with instead of water since water is scarce in her situation, and she needs the water for drinking. She said that she has spent days on the phone trying to find out what is being done for the homeless but has found few answers in her area. When I first spoke to her, there were four other homeless people staying in this particular parking lot.

The police in that area have checked on them but have not harassed them. Where else would they go?

In her area, she has found that there were places that she could come by and get stuff, but they don’t have a way to get it to her since her vehicle has broken down and she has no way to get there. She says that they can’t panhandle anymore because it’s not safe to accept money. And social distancing is a must that she practices at every opportunity.

“It’s horrible and there seems to be no help for us.” She said that there should be a place for homeless people like what happened after Hurricane Harvey hit the area.

She is eating canned food and has a bandana to cover her face when she goes into the store for supplies. “It’s not much,” she said, “but it’s something.” And it doesn’t help that the pollen out in Texas has had days when the pollen count was higher than here in Georgia. “Do I have a sinus infection or am I gonna die?” she has wondered.

There is a curfew in her area and non-essential businesses have closed. She said that inmates are being released because of the coronavirus. But she said that nobody has bothered her other than a lady who is also homeless.

“I hate it (being in this situation) but at the same time, I don’t. I’m getting another perspective.” She noted that others are having problems including truckers are having an issue getting food from drive thrus.

At the end of the interview, she pointed out that homeless people are people too. “It’s a difficult thing being homeless,” she said, “and this virus has made it even worse.

Update on This Story

I was contacted a couple of days ago and told some good news. First, she had seen a post on one of the community pages about food pantry that was open so she contacted them and told them that she had transportation issues and could not come to them so they came to her. Three large bags of food and some chick-fil-a gift cards delivered that night!

Then another lady came by and talked to her about a shelter that she might be able to go to.

Then someone else came by and said that they would look at her truck. Hopefully that comes to pass, but in the meantime, she has food and is looking at the specifics of going to a shelter where she will be safer than the parking lot in which she is currently living.

What About Here in Our Area?

This began a search for resources for the Homeless in our area. Pike County Times can’t help get services to this woman out in Texas, but the question of what was available around here prompted a question on Facebook that encouraged many in ministry to reach out to Pike County Times to tell how they are helping the homeless in our area.

The Salvation Army – Griffin

Salvation Army House of Hope Shelter is located at 329 North 13th Street.

Normally, The Salvation Army House of Hope Shelter only allows residents to stay overnight. However, beginning yesterday, this emergency shelter has moved to 24 hours. Lt. Paula Blevins advised that unless a resident has a job, everyone else has to stay inside of the shelter. “That’s what we are doing for our residents,” she said. They are also adding a lunch meal for those who are in the shelter. They are maintaining the required 6 foot distance within the shelter.

Lt. Blevins advised that there is some space available; however, there are requirements in order to obtain a space. “Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, we will ask potential residents some questions because we need to protect the health of our current residents,” she said. Please note that you cannot show up to ask about a space at the shelter. You must go through a prescreening process. Call 770-412-6561 to inquire about how to obtain a space at the shelter. [Note from the Editor: It has been more than a week since this interview so space may not be available now. Call and ask to find out.]

She advised that they are providing to-go plates for dinner for those who need it, and the Meriwether Street office is giving away a lot of groceries. They had given 43 bags yesterday and they gave out 51 bags of groceries today, March 26. We have given out well over 100 bags this week. In order to obtain groceries, call 770-412-6561 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please leave a message if your call is not immediately answered. They will need to know how many are in your family and a way to get back in touch with you.

She also advised that The Salvation Army has been helping with rent and utilities, but they are not doing that at this time. She advised people to talk to their landlords and call the City of Griffin in order to work out a payment plan if possible for now. They will be helping with this again in a few weeks, but not right now.

You can find out more about The Salvation Army in Griffin through their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/TSAGriffin or through their website at: www.salvationarmygeorgia.org/griffin. You can donate through their website by clicking on the Donate button.

Operation Lunchbox - Locust Grove

We at Operation Lunchbox during the Covid-19 crisis will remain steadfast in our helping the Community. We are currently working with Boards of Education in multiple counties feeding food insecure families.

We are currently being asked to help in communities that we haven't yet reached. We are up for the challenge, of assisting any and all food insecure families out there. We currently provide for 2,700 families.

Folks can contact us via email at admin(@)operationlunchbox.org [Note from the Editor: There are () in this email that will need to be removed. They are in this article to try to stop spam and hackers.] or 678-962-3333. We are in need of partners to help us supply groceries, each day we come to the office the need is greater. We are accepting donations of groceries at 113 Park 42 Dr Suite C Locust Grove, Ga 30248.

www.facebook.com/kidsgottaeatATLis the Facebook page for Operation Lunchbox.

Donations can also be made at www.operationlunchbox.org
Cashapp - $operationlunchbox
Venmo - @Operation-Lunchbox
PayPal - PayPal.me/operationlunchbox

Pike Assembly of God - Zebulon

Pike Assembly of God sponsors a food pantry distribution on the 3rd Friday of every month from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Pike County Assembly of God is located at 4990 Hwy 19S in Zebulon.

If you have not picked up from this food pantry before, there is a form to fill out for this food pantry that asks personal info like address, wages, assistance received, etc. However, they don't give based on income or anything. And if you are picking up for a friend, then they'll have to fill out the same form as well. You can fill out the paperwork while you are waiting in line for pick up.

STAY IN YOUR CAR PLEASE. All boxes will be distributed in a car line. They will have them ready for you do drive up, and they will load them in your vehicle. NO ONE WILL NEED TO COME INSIDE FOR PICKUP.

Impact Christian Ministries - Griffin

Impact Christian Ministries can no longer allow people to gather in the building; however, they are still serving at 115 West Solomon Street in Griffin.

Ministry can be in the form of a meal like a donut and coffee every morning at 9 a.m., a bagged lunch with a sandwich, chips, and a drink around 11 a.m., or a Saturday dinner around 5 p.m. In fact, they have coffee all day long on many days!

They are also providing boxes of food for those in need Mondays and Fridays only. Those who would like to participate in this part of the program need to call 770-412-9092 with your name and phone number so they can set an appointment for you to pick up your box. If anyone runs out of food, they can provide an emergency bag so there will be enough until the appointment day. Associate Pastor Miriam Garcia advised that “We are giving whatever we have for them to eat.” And this is being done at a time when many co-ops have closed down.

She also advised that there have been some changes as of today with social distancing requirements. Only two people will be in the building when getting food boxes, or they would prefer to bring food boxes to your vehicle. Other changes are noted on their Facebook page which include clothes only for the homeless as needed (volunteer help low at this point to help with general clothing needs) and Absolutely no congregating in the parking lot.

If you would like to donate to help this ministry, you can send a check to: Impact Christian Ministries, 115 West Solomon Street, Griffin Ga, 30223. You can make a donation through PayPal on their website at: www.impactchristianministries.com.

You can find out more on their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Icm115 and their website at: http://www.impactchristianministries.com.

Rushton’s Hope – Griffin

Rushton’s Hope was founded on July 7, 2007. Its mission is impacting lives with hope in Christ by meeting physical and spiritual needs wherever the Lord leads. This includes serving the homeless, serving families in need, helping with crisis pregnancy classes, counseling & resources, serving Saturday meals & a Clothes Closet, helping with medical needs as funds allow, and even serving others in benevolent housing ministry that includes household items, furniture, and lodging assistance as funds are available. They also do a Sunday evening meal and service weekly.

Ministry before the coronavirus consisted of being open almost every day and including a variety of gatherings that hosted activities listed above. However, they have had to postpone several of those ministries at the present. Pastor Ron Cook told Pike County Times that Rushton’s Hope is still serving during this time but that they are keeping the required distance and guidelines as they serve. They have helped several with backpacks, sleeping bags, and food & toiletry boxes and bags. Just prior to the Governor’s order, they were able to give out almost 200 meals donated by Chick-fil-A and Truetts on a Saturday, and about 30 meals donated by Wood Creek Church on a Sunday.

Rushton’s Hope is currently located at 814 Experiment Street in the old West Griffin /RESA School. However, the facility is being sold by the Flint River Baptist Association that owns it, so Rushton’s Hope is having to decide whether to buy the building in its current location or move to another location. If you want to help with this endeavor, please contact Pastor Ron at the number below.

Pastor Ron said that they are staying in operation and serving as best and as long as they can. If the gate is open, there is usually someone there. New Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are providing for basic needs right now. He said that some restaurants are donating food that can be distributed to those in need. Others are doing Pantry drives. If you are interested in donating food, funds, or other items please contact Pastor Ron at the number below.

You can contact Pastor Ron by email at: rushhope@bellsouth.net or by call or text at 770-468-6606. Please leave a message if he is not able to pick up the phone immediately.

You can find out more about Rushton’s Hope on their Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/rushtonhope/ or on their website at: http://www.rushtonshope.org.

A.C.T.S. Outreach of Georgia – Thomaston

A.C.T.S. (Always Choose To Serve) Outreach of Georgia is a non-profit organization that strives to help the homeless and people in need throughout the State of Georgia. It was launched on July 25, 2013 and is still reaching out to people in need today.

Director Tim Gordy advised that because of the current outbreak of the coronavirus, A.C.T.S. Outreach can only provide a little bit of food and no shelter at this time. The ministry is focusing on the elderly and those with children and mothers with young children.

Volunteers can help this ministry by taking food to those in need or trying to find co-ops or other ways to bring in food and resources that are needed in this time.

Donations can be sent to: PO Box 254, Thomaston Georgia 30286, through PayPal at www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=E5UA4L9PQACDC, or through the Cash app at $TimGordy64.

You can reach out to Tim through email at: acts_outreach@yahoo.com or timgordy610@yahoo.com, by cell phone at: 706-975-0532, or through Facebook Messenger.

You can find out more about ACTS Outreach Inc on their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ACTSOutofGa.