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'A blessing': Warner Robins church donates van to nonprofit serving the homeless

Mack's long-term goal is to open a transition center to help people get back on their feet.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A nonprofit for the homeless in Warner Robins is enjoying a special gift they got on Easter. 

We went to Houston County to see how they plan to use the donation to improve lives.

The nonprofit organization started in 2020. So far, they've served more than 3,000 homeless people throughout Central Georgia.

Two decades ago, Toni Mack struggled with homelessness, but she said the community helped her overcome those hardships, so she created The Lending Hand, Incorporated

"People invested in me and sowed in me. It's time for me to sow into people and give it back," Mack said.

Now, she and a team of 20 volunteers collect food donations and toiletry items, and she makes herself a resource to the homeless.

"We don't just take them a hot meal and care package. We sit, ask them what they're needs are, what they do. They know us by name, we know them by name, and so they feel comfortable with us so whenever they need stuff, they are some people who need an ID card, they don't have a way to go get an ID or an address to use, so we want to be able to help them with those things," Mack said.

But now, they can take them places. This past weekend, First Baptist Church of Garmon Street surprised Mack with a 14-seat van.

"We're busy doing the church thing, but real ministry all too often goes lacking; and so this was us being involved in real ministry behind the regular church," Pastor Jason Kirvin.

"This van is a blessing. It's so amazing. We won't have to take multiple cars, then take it out there, we can just load our van up and take everything to them," Mack said.

Mack and all the volunteers used to drive their own cars. Mack's long-term goal is to open a transition center to help people get back on their feet.

You can volunteer with The Lending Hand, Incorporated at their next big event is June 4th at 10 a.m. You can join them at 1302 Watson Boulevard, Warner Robins, Georgia 31093.

Right now they are collecting monetary items and more toiletries. She says, travel sized items are best to donate, because they can put them in Ziplocs, keeping everything dry from the rain and easily transportable. The donation list includes: Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, lotion, deodorant, chap stick, knit gloves, hats, socks, hand/foot warmers, wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, band-aids, finger nail clippers, foot powder, feminine pads, wash cloths, hair combs, underwear (male and female), and face masks.

If you want to help sponsor meals or donate food, you can contact Mack at thelendinghand.org@gmail.com or 478-396-5556.

In the past, The Lending Hand, Incorporated donated clothes and shoes to some Pearl Stephen's Elementary students who were homeless. They also sponsored 12 students at MLK Elementary in Macon who were identified by the school counselor as being in need for the 2021-2022 school years. They gifted those students with uniforms and school supplies.

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