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Warm wishes: Cold temps drive need for donations

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

COVINGTON -- As temperatures dip, the need for assistance has been increasing in Newton County as those less fortunate are requesting coats and warm clothes.

The Salvation Army needs jackets and coats of all sizes for men, women and children. Service Center Director Jody Carver said schools are calling requesting jackets for children who are without, and people are walking into the location on Washington Street trying to get coats for their kids.

"Most people who are coming in are just experiencing the effects of the economy and can't afford to buy their children warm clothes. That's also why the schools are calling. They're recognizing the need. We're trying to help out, but we've got an overload of these people," Carver said, noting that in the past week, 30 to 40 people have requested coats.

The Salvation Army is also short on toy donations for its Angel Tree program. The organization has three angel trees, at BJs and Cracker Barrel in Conyers and at Smokey Bones in Lithonia. To adopt a child, pluck a name off the tree and purchase either clothes or a toy and drop them off at the Salvation Army, located at 5193 Washington St. S.W., between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

"You can adopt an angel or a family of angels and buy toys or clothes for specific children or bring general donations that we will match to angels who are not adopted. We have 200 unadopted children right now," Carver said. Donations for senior citizens are also being sought. For more information, call 770-786-2107.

Covington First United Methodist Church is collecting coats, blankets and gloves and "Anything to keep people warm," said volunteer Jan Willis. The winter wear will be donated to the Division of Family and Children Services.

"Through the winter months, anybody that wants to bring some we'll accept any of them. They are apparently very much needed," Willis said.

Donations are accepted at the church between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

Garden of Gethsemane Homeless Shelter is also in dire need of heavy coats, according to Executive Director Clara Lett.

"We're seeing people with no utilities and people who have been sleeping in their cars coming in. They can't do it anymore. It's too cold," Lett said.

Items can be donated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 7133 Turner Lake Circle. Call 787-8519.

Newton County Senior Services is also accepting heavy sweaters and blankets for its members as well as canned food donations for the Community Food Pantry. To donate, visit the Senior Center at 6183 Turner Lake Road from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 770-787-0038.

FaithWorks, a nonprofit organization that assists low-income residents with utility and rent payments, has seen an increase in demand but is now open only on Wednesday and Friday due to lack of funding. As many as 25 families are receiving assistance each day, with average daily assistance totaling $1,800, according to Executive Director Dennis Cheek. That amount has gone as high as $2,400 in one day recently.

Donations to FaithWorks can be made by mail at P.O. Box 2972, Covington, GA 30015. For more information, call 770-784-1884.