New community center offers 'Hand of Hope'

New community center offers 'Hand of Hope'

CORDELE, GA (WALB) - A new community center has opened in Cordele after the controversial closing of the labor department office earlier this year in that same building. The labor department closed its doors in June, and many folks in the community were, and still are, upset.

That may change when they see what's taken its place. Donations at the Hand of Hope have been coming in steadily.

"Already we're out of room."

The new center cut the ribbon on the new place last Wednesday. It now includes a low-cost thrift shop with clothes, kitchen products, and baby clothes. Their focus is simple and singular.

"It's all about Jesus. So there's no denomination, there's no race. There's no rich. There's no poor. We're just the children of God," said founder Donna Stripling.

Prayer time and bible studies will take place every day from 12-1 and again at 5:30, but the building will also help reach the unemployed--just as its predecessor did.

"We want to get hooked up with getting the GED taught. We want to teach them how to interview, how to dress, how to talk--just basic life skills and so everything we do is for the betterment of God's people," said Stripling.

Stripling's husband came up with name for the center, hoping to inspire those in the community who feel like there is no hope.

"We have to be the hands of Jesus. We have to give them the hope. We have to work with them and help them," said Stripling.

Although the center has just opened, the idea has been in the works for several years now. She says it all started with a vision of Jesus over an old trailer behind her restaurant.

Now she just wants to reach her hometown.

"I mean this is a work of the almighty God, a tangible work that he has given us to reach his people," said Stripling.

Or as she also said, a light in a dark world. Stripling says they won't turn anyone away.

If you can't afford clothes or other stuff in the store, you can sort donations for a certain amount of time and then get what you want.

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