Blankets of Hope for Homeless - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Blankets of Hope for Homeless

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

October 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany homeless shelters are struggling with increasing homeless rates. Feeding the hungry, and making sure they stay warm during the winter months, is especially concerning.

A mealtime ministry to give thanks before lunch. About 50 homeless men and women packed the chapel at the Albany Rescue Mission Friday, and that was a small crowd. "If we had two or three more of these ministries, I don't know if it would be enough," said Brother Larry Hample.

He says as the economy continues to decline, his ministry continues to increase, beyond the crowd he normally sees. "We're seeing some homeless that are not drug addicts or having problems, that are just normal people. Lost their apartment, lost their job, landlord didn't have much compassion, said you got to go."

Some will live on the streets. "We just want to do something to try and help them at least stay warm, cause there's no shelters," said Tammye Atkinson, a paramedic with Dougherty EMS.

She says as it's turned colder, she's noticed more and more homeless roaming the streets. "They'll sleep in boxes in wooded areas and just get so cold and the police find them and call us to come and see how they are and check on them and stuff."

She's asking people to donate blankets in good condition. "we're going to put 'em on our trucks and if we happen to see anybody that's in the need for one, then we'll have it available to use right then and we can give it to them."

Sadly, Brother Larry expects to see even more people needing help in the near future. "I think in another six months, you are going to see a lot worse than this." So he'll continue to pray, for a blanket of hope over the homeless in Albany.

Larry Hample says he's feeding about 1,000 more meals a month, than this time last year. If you would like to help, you can take blankets to Dougherty EMS headquarters at 2nd and Jefferson, and non perishable food to the Albany Rescue Mission on Monroe Street.

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