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'It's a hand-up not a hand-out': Warner Robins ministry working to help unhoused and low-income residents

Hands Up of Hope offers transitional housing, clothing, a soup kitchen, life skills courses and more.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Hands Up of Hope Ministry in Warner Robins has been working to lend a hand up to folks in the community for over a decade. It's a ministry under Christ Power & Resurrection Ministries, which has been serving in a similar capacity since 1989.

Now, they are trying to help even more people.

At the end of February, the warming center at The Table at First Christian Church closed, leaving some folks looking for a place to go. 

Hands Up of Hope welcomed several people from the center into their facility. They received about 60 donated beds from Brookdale Resource Center, and toiletries and other goods from folks at The Table. 

Now, they can house even more people in their separate woman and men's quarters. 

For the last two weeks David Gelina's been working to pick up his life.

"I've kind of been on the streets a little while, but since I've been here, I've found employment. I'm working again," Gelina said.

Hands Up of Hope walks folks through four phases. 

Phase I targets gaining Identification cards, helping folks receive benefits, and determine their health issues.

Phase II is the transitional phase. People are able to get help with resumes and job training, and take life skills classes.

Phase III is where they help you reconnect with family, find job placement, and home placement. 

Jesse French, says in the last three weeks, they have helped place 11 people back with families or in apartments. 

Phase IV is the after care stage. Folks will remain in contact for the next 90 days to make sure they are still on track for success.

Throughout the week the program also offers meals through Sip and Soup:

  • Monday - Wednesday, Friday : 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Thursday 10:15 a.m. - 12:30 pm.

For Gelina, the life classes have been extremely beneficial.

"How to to tackle the tough stuff, how to be the bigger person, just things like that, that really benefit me, cause I have a lot of relationships in my life that I need to restore," he said.

For Leno Brown, the classes are all about helping him create better habits, and rejoining society. 

"There are rules for a reason, and you have to follow them, so getting back into the habit of actually taking the resources and making use of them," Brown said.

Before this, the center was usually housing five or six people at a time. Now French says they have added an additional 20. 

Edith Edwards, and evangelist with CPR ministries, say their work is all about building up the community.  

"Love has to prevail and that's what we are about, continuously generating love, not only with people who are having hardship, but them being able to bring that love back to their families so that then we develop a stronger community," Edwards said.

They are grateful the warming center has put a larger emphasis on the issue within the city. French says it brought in a lot of support for the unhoused. 

However, he says the biggest battle is keeping continuous support. 

"If there is going to be greater change then we need a continuous flow of resources," French said. 

The ministry hopes to continue to gain community partnerships, and is always looking for volunteers. You can volunteer with their Sip and Soup, or day and night watch. 

They are also always looking for donations. To find out about partnerships or giving you can email handupofhope777@gmail.com or call (305) 984-4741.

The facility is located at 302 Vickie Drive in Warner Robins.

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