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'Coming in out of the cold': Loaves & Fishes provides hotel rooms to shelter Macon's homeless

Jake Ferro, the executive director of Loaves & Fishes says they bought 14 hotel rooms to shelter 26 people

MACON, Ga. — It will be especially cold this winter for some Central Georgians who don't have a home to keep them out of the elements.

Jake Ferro, the executive director of Loaves & Fishes Ministry, says they bought 14 hotel rooms to shelter 26 people. They hope to build on that number in the future.

Barbara Ann Richardson recently moved to Macon from Atlanta.

"It's a new year. I want to start over and do something different and be in a positive environment, so I chose Macon. I visited here one time and fell in love with it, so here I am," Richardson said. 

She's hoping for the opportunity to stay at the inn for these cold nights.

"Oh, wow. It would mean everything to me," Richardson said.

Richardson is 61 years old and has high blood pressure and arthritis.

"I have a great, great grandbaby on the way, and my granddaughter is 22. She is having a boy, so I want to be in their life. If I am on the street, I am not going to make it," Richardson said.

Loaves & Fishes received funding from Atrium Health Navicent to start the "Welcome Home" program last year.

That funding helped the ministry place 67 homeless seniors. 

The program is built to provide shelter for those in need.

Jake Ferro saw the living conditions at the Greyhound Bus Station and wanted to step in.

"Here we are -- You are coming in out of the cold. You get a chance to take a shower, lay down on a warm bed, get out of the elements, not only for survival but a little bit of an extra benefit for them," Ferro explained.

This is a benefit Richardson plans to take full advantage of.

"They got a lot of help for a lot of homeless people here, more so here than in Atlanta. Atlanta is bigger and got more wealth, but here, I see with my own two eyes the help that a lot of homeless people get here, and I am glad to be a part of the community," Richardson said.

Ferro says if you want to contribute to any of the nonprofits in town, they are always looking for more winter weather items.

Those include sleeping bags, blankets, hats, gloves, and boots. If you want to contribute to the Welcome Home Program, Ferro says you can contact him at (478) 228-5424.


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