Charity director says city of Sylvester breached contract -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Charity director says city of Sylvester breached contract

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) – The director of a charity that helps feed families in need in Sylvester says her program is now in jeopardy because city broke a contract and stopped giving money to the program. City leaders say not enough of the money was actually going to help people.

Pastor Judy Hall runs the Family Visions Outreach in Sylvester. The Outreach provides emergency food and shelter to low-income people. She says the city suddenly revoked a financial contract with the program, but city leaders say Hall didn't live up to her end of the deal.

When the economy took a turn for the worst, personal donations to community charities also went down. One of those charities, the Family Visions Outreach in Sylvester, was forced to find money elsewhere to continue its low-income food assistance program.

"We asked the city if they would help us feed these people by giving us funds to buy food," said Family Visions Outreach Director, Pastor Judy Hall.

The city agreed to help, signing a one year, $20,000 contract with Family Visions Outreach.

"They stipulated that we could use seventy percent for low-income to moderate income people for food and shelter purposes," continued Hall. "And then thirty percent for operating expenses or administrative expenses."

City leaders say the charity didn't live up to that agreement. Hall insists that's not true, and she says the city breached the contract.

Hall says she went to City Hall to discuss a completely different topic when the council decided to go off-agenda and vote on whether the food program should continue.

"We went to get an extension on the loan for Paradise Estate. That's why we were there. It was not about the food. They just started talking about "Well, we have this ledger here for the food program and you're not spending what you should be spending it for." "

Hall says she tried to explain to the council that she spent the money accordingly and she had the ledgers and receipts to prove it. But Hall says she was told to be quiet or she'd be escorted from the building.

"It questioned my honesty, my integrity, and my ethics. I'm doing this for the people, I'm not getting paid. I'm not getting anything."

Now Hall fears for the program's future, and for the many low-income families dependent on it in emergencies.

Sylvester City Manager Deborah Bridges told WALB-TV Family Visions Outreach was not spending 70-percent of the money on programs to help people. Judy Hall says her documents show that's not true, and she plans to fight what she calls a breach of contract.

Judy Hall also says private donations to the program are down now because everyone's attention is focused on the crisis in Haiti.


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