Scout building beds for shelter

COVINGTON - One local youngster is taking on the task of building 80 beds for the new homeless shelter set to open later this year, and he's asking the community for help.

Micahl Williams, 15, of Boy Scout Troop 222 in Covington, chose the Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter run by Rainbow Covenant Ministries as his community service project required to obtain his Eagle Scout rank, the highest scouting rank that can be achieved.

Micahl and his scout troop will construct the wooden twin bed frames to be used at the shelter's new location on Turner Lake Circle. The frames can be used as single beds or may be stacked as bunk beds.

Micahl, a sophomore at Alcovy High School, is required to organize the project as well as raise the approximately $4,000 needed for construction materials and supplies. That cost does not include the needed mattresses.

Micahl is relying on donations of money and supplies from the community in order to complete the project.

Materials needed include 240 pine lumber boards size 2x6x14; 160 pine lumber boards size 2x4x14; and 160 pine lumber boards size 2x6x8. Also needed are 5,120 zinc coated screws size 21/2 inches and 80 new twin mattresses.

Micahl is sending out letters to local businesses, churches and organizations seeking donations, and hopes the general public will pitch in, too.

Micahl said he chose the shelter for his project because he was familiar with the need there, having volunteered there in the past with his church.

"They don't have anything else, so they needed it," he said.

His brother Andrew constructed a pavilion at the shelter's current location on Hemlock Street in Porterdale to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Andrew raised $3,000 for that project.

The Rev. Clara Lett, director of the shelter, said she's grateful for the gift of the beds, which she would otherwise have to buy or find someone to donate, a task that is becoming increasingly difficult.

"In my seven years at the shelter, we have never had such a hard time as we are having now with finances and donations," she said.

"They have big hearts," Lett said of the two brothers. "This will really be a blessing for us."

Both boys have been in scouting since the first grade, said their mother, Rachel Williams.

"This life program has helped mold them into the young men they are becoming. They have had many experiences, learned many skills in scout meetings ... (at) church functions, campouts and community outreach programs. They have taken upon duties that have enabled them to experience what it is like to be a leader, a good decision-maker and a mature and wise young adult," she said.

Micahl is hoping to complete the project by October, the expected move-in date for the shelter.

Once the project is finished, Micahl must send in a report to the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for approval before he can obtain his Eagle Scout rank.

Anyone who would like to make a donation should contact John or Rachel Williams at 770-385-6338. Monetary donations may be mailed to 1855 Hodges Circle, Mansfield, GA, 30055. Checks should be made payable to Boy Scout Troop 222 Covington, GA with the memo "Micahl Williams' Eagle Project."

All who donate will have their names listed on a plaque to be displayed at the shelter.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.