The second Saturday of February saw the highlighting of an important issue in the Macon community—homelessness. According to Maconrescuemission.com, experts estimate there are over 500 homeless people in the Macon-Bibb County, many of which suffer from addictions.
Local community members belonging to the Loaves & Fishes Ministry of Macon organized a benefit raising money to further the Ministry’s mission to “serve and improve the quality of life of the poor and homeless in Macon and Middle Georgia.”
The benefit called Tea & Tunes: A Heart for the Homeless featured performances by Mercer’s professor of music, Dr. Martha Malone, accompanied by several students from the Townsend School of Music.
The fundraiser began at 3 p.m. with McKinley Starks performing “Leaning on a Lamppost” and ending shortly before 5 p.m. after Clay Mote’s rousing and humorous performance of “Me” from Beauty and the Beast.
Along with wonderful music, guests at the event were also served a colorful assortment of teas, pastries and cookies that reflected a love-filled atmosphere.
This was the first year the Ministry had attempted an event like Tea & Tunes, and it was an overwhelming success. “I would estimate we have over 150 people here, I think we’ve had an amazing turnout”, said Sharon Bailey, chairwoman of the organization’s marketing committee and a primary organizer of the event.
Donations made by attendees to the event will go to the operating costs and expenses of Loaves & Fishes.
For 45 years, Loaves & Fishes Ministry has served the Macon and middle Georgia community, helping “assist individuals and families as they transition from learned helplessness to learned resourcefulness.”
Though it now serves the community from the home base of Northminster Presbyterian Church, the organization was founded barely a block from Mercer in the basement of the former Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church. In the beginning, the ministry was able to provide only food and clothing; 15 years after its founding, the organization acquired its first house and began providing shelter to homeless men.
Today with the help of around a dozen different churches in Macon and middle Georgia, Loaves and Fishes Ministry provides essential services and items such as groceries, sack lunches, clothing, a free laundry and shower facility, personal hygiene kits, birth certificates and emergency prescription assistance.
“It’s important to me to be part of an organization that is offering real help in both material and spiritual ways to families and individuals that are struggling with homelessness and poverty” said Bailey.