Lockout to raise funds for homeless
by W. Winston Skinner
Lots of churches have held a lock-in — young people locked in the church for games, food and music with some Bible study stirred in. This weekend, Resurrection Lutheran Church will hold just the opposite — a lockout.
The goal of the program is to teach young people some truths about life for people who are regularly locked out, the homeless in Coweta County.
The Hands-Up Lockout will be held Saturday and Sunday at the church on Lora Smith Road and Georgia Highway 34 East — drawing attention to the needs of local homeless people and raising funds for One Roof Ecumenical Outreach.
“There were over 300 children in the Coweta County School System last year who were homeless. This number does not include their parents, younger siblings or older siblings,” said Derenda Rowe, executive director for One Roof.
“They live with relatives who are overcrowded in motel rooms, cars, tents — sometimes buildings that are not meant for habitation. How can a child thrive in these conditions?” she asked.
“One Roof houses many of the families of these children in motel rooms. The hardest thing I do in my job is telling people we can't help because we don't have the funds,” Rowe reflected.
The Hands-up Lockout is a fundraiser designed for the youth of Coweta County to help the homeless youth and their families in the local community. “We hope to raise awareness of the plight that people in Coweta suffer,” Rowe said.
Youth ages 13-18 will be sleeping outside at Resurrection Lutheran Church in cardboard boxes. “The youth will have an evening of fun activities designed to give them a slight glimpse into the lives of those who have to depend on others for food and shelter,” Rowe said.
The High School Youth Band from Southcrest Church will be playing during the evening. “When we asked them, they said, ‘absolutely,’” said Connie Jones, an organizer of the event.
Jones said participants will be putting “300 bags with tea lights” that have been lighted on the church property. The candles will “represent the 300 homeless children” of Coweta County — offering “a strong visual” to represent the young lives impacted by homelessness in the county.
One of the adults at the Lockout will be Rowe, who spends much of her time working with Coweta’s homeless. “This is our second year to sleep in cardboard boxes to raise awareness of our homeless in Coweta,” she noted. The Lockout will start at Resurrection Lutheran on Saturday at 4 p.m. and end on Sunday at 8 a.m.
Youth have been asking family and friends to sponsor them for the event and are encouraging their friends, family, congregation members and local community residents to stop by and bring monetary donations, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, sleeping bags or anything someone living on the street or in a motel room could use.
For information, contact Connie Jones via email at email@example.com. Reference “Hands-up Lockout” in the subject line. Jones can be reached by phone at 678-517-0526.