Faulkner reported, “About the same time the Leadership Lumpkin Class of 2015 chose to support our ministry and sponsored a spaghetti supper that raised another $20,000. “In February 2015 I approached the Branch Bank and Trust Company Foundation, where I serve as a corporate director of BB&T Financial Cooperation, and requested a donation of $100,000, which we received in April. To date the ministry has received gifts of $270,000 and the duplexes are ready to be occupied.” Faulkner added, “The first group of ten men who heard the initial calling of God are all members of Dahlonega Baptist Church. Four of the current members of the Board of Directors are members of Dahlonega Baptist Church and one of the original board members, who served as the original treasurer, was the spouse of a retired Baptist pastor.” The duplexes were structurally sound, but in need of refurbishing and repair, so a sufficient amount of work has been done to get the dwellings suitable for occupancy. The renovation has been accomplished through a joint effort of people from eight Baptist churches, one Methodist church, one Lutheran church, and one Catholic church. RefrigiWear, a Dahlonega company that manufactures insulated industrial work wear, closed down its company of 120 employees for one day and sent their workforce all over the city to assist non-profit ministries in various service projects – 35 were sent to paint the eight duplexes. Bill Hutcheson, pastor of Dahlonega Baptist Church, remarked, “Our town and county is incredibly open to churches, businesses, schools, and civic organizations working together.” Hutcheson urges his congregation to each give a dollar a week to benevolent causes and generally receives $40,000 to $50,000 a year to assist those in need. Faulkner commented, “We decided that we didn’t want to provide some kind of band-aid solution or give the homeless families a quick fix, so we set a comprehensive plan in place. “We will screen potential residents by requiring criminal background checks and drug tests. Those selected to become residents of these transitional homes will live there for 90 days with free rent, utilities, and food, much of which is being donated by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association through Chestatee Ford and one of the local church’s food bank.” During those 90 days the families will be receiving counseling, guidance, and help in securing jobs with the requirement that they save 30% of their income so they can save enough money to move into traditional housing after that first year. Carl Gibson, his wife Penny, and daughter Angel, members of Dahlonega Baptist Church, will become residents of one of the duplexes to counsel and mentor the other seven families. Gibson, a deacon and leader in the Summit Youth Ministry at DBC, stated, “I had problems with drugs and alcohol in my younger adult life, but God saved me and I am seeking to walk with Him. I want the people who live in these duplexes to know they are not alone; and they need to know that somebody cares. “I intend to start a small Bible study group in the complex,” Gibson stated. “I have also asked the pastor if I can drive the church van to the complex on Saturday night in order to drive the residents to the church of their choice on Sunday morning. If they don’t have a strong preference I will happily take them to my church. “A lot of good things will come out of this. I am privileged to be able to serve,” Gibson added. For more information about how to help the homeless contact Jimmy Faulkner at email@example.com or go to www.lumpkincountyhomeless.com.
“Some said there were no homeless and I agreed until I began to see them with my heart.”
Jimmy Faulkner, layman Dahlonega Baptist Church
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