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Rockdale's MLK breakfast to benefit local homeless initiatives

CONYERS -- Local pastor Layne Fields will deliver the keynote address at this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Breakfast to honor the civil rights icon and his message of unity.

The Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce and the Rockdale Branch of the NAACP will co-host a breakfast 7:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, commemorating the birth of Dr. King. and celebrating the life and achievements of the influential American Civil Rights leader. Fields is pastor of Old Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.

The breakfast will be held at the Conyers Longhorn Steakhouse, located at 1300 Iris Drive, just north of the intersection of West Avenue and Interstate 20. Proceeds from the eighth annual event will be donated to United Way in Rockdale to benefit programs addressing homelessness in the community.

"We are excited about this year's celebration and expecting a large turnout," Fred Boscarino, president of the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement announcing the breakfast.

"This is our eighth year hosting the event with the Rockdale NAACP, and it has become a community tradition for many of our residents and business owners who want to appropriately observe MLK Day and honor this great American."

The public is invited to attend for the local observance of MLK Day. The cost to attend the breakfast and program is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 13 and under. Advance tickets may be purchased from the Chamber of Commerce, located at 1186 Scott St.

United Way in Rockdale Area Director Claire Cline expressed appreciation to the local NAACP and the Chamber for partnering to organize the event and for supporting local efforts to help the homeless.

"On Jan. 16, we will be honoring a visionary leader who worked to improve the lives of others and to bridge social barriers," Cline said in the statement. "Helping the homeless is certainly an appropriate tribute to his legacy."

All funds raised will benefit homeless initiatives in Conyers and Rockdale County, including Phoenix Pass and Family Promise of NewRock.

Phoenix Pass opened in 2010 at the Light House Village and provides long-term transitional housing for families, particularly women with children, who are experiencing temporary homelessness in the Conyers/Rockdale County area. The project is the first transitional housing complex in Rockdale County.

Family Promise of NewRock is a unique partnership among local churches to provide assistance for families dealing with homelessness.

Family Promise operates as a transitional service, not a shelter. It offers what it terms "hospitality services" as a way for families to stay together and keep children in school. It also allows parents time to find jobs and homes. Volunteers and congregations work with local facilities and resources to help make a difference in the lives of these families.