Bethune Elementary students, State Rep. Kathy Ashe donate blankets to The Gateway Center for homeless

Seven students and their parents from Bethune Elementary School  invited Georgia House Representative Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta) to accompany them as they delivered blankets, diapers, feminine products and toiletries to The Gateway Center for the homeless Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t tell you how honored I am to come help you deliver these items today,” said Ashe, a former reading teacher with the Marietta City Schools. “The work that you are doing is very important.”

Ashe represents District 56, which includes part of the Vine City community and has been a long-time partner with Bethune Elementary. “Thank you for taking charge of your lives. Larry has a tag on that says one day at a time. And that’s what we have to do. Not to hit somebody, go to school everyday, exercise and eat healthy,” said Ashe. 

Dennis Williams, a client and volunteer, talked to the students about how he came to the Center and how it’s impacted his life. “When I came to Atlanta, I stayed at a hotel for three months until I ran out of money,” said Williams. “I came down to Five Points and a young man said, ‘I’m going to help you – I’m going to show you a place.’” Williams said he didn’t understand what it meant to be homeless and was having a difficult time accepting it. “Now I get up every morning at 5 a.m. to volunteer for the Center,” he added. “I like to help because they helped me.” Williams shared one of his gospel songs and said he is in the process of making a CD with other homeless people.

Arranged by Bethune’s Communities in Schools Program Coordinator Alexandra Pajak, the students donated the items purchased with funds from CIS and from donations from an engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration. The Gateway Center serves 500 homeless men, women and children per day, offering them specific services they need to move toward self-sufficiency. Last year, the students donated Thanksgiving baskets and cards.

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