HOMELESSNESS and what you can do to help

OUR WEB NEWSLETTER & background info





Caring Hands Ministries has created the I CARE AWARDS to recognize and encourage those who serve people in need often at great personal sacrifice. Please join us in praying for and blessing these beautiful servants of Christ. All individuals and ministries mentioned on this page can be contacted by emailing CHMI. None has a home page and only one has email at present so we are the link to their web world.




Wherever someone is doing something for somebody in need anywhere in Gainesville, GA you can be sure that Nathaniel Shelton will be involved in it some way especially if it involves a child or teenager. He is the school social worker but his caring goes far beyond his job description. From heading the Gainesville Hall County GA Homeless Children and Youth Education Program (HCYEP) to helping to develop a vital Interagency Collaborative Team (ICT) for Homeless Children and Youth, to helping motivate and carry out the very active outreach programs of St. John Baptist Church, to serving on the Human Relations Council, to an unknowable number of other projects, if God shows him it needs doing somehow he will find a way to get it done.

Caring Hands has been priveleged to be a member of the ICT and to work closely with him on a number of occassions. He is a talented facilitator who brings out the best in those he leads. He is truely a doorkeeper opening the way for others to srve and to grow. We once asked his pastor Reverend Green if he could help us put together a list of the things Nathaniel Shelton has helped to do. He shook his head. "Only God can keep that list. Most of the time he doesn't talk about it he just does it and generally gets someone else involved and sees that they get credit for it." In the time we've known him we have seen that this is true. Despite his lack of self promotion his peers have recognized his efforts and the HCYEP program he directs has been called one of the best in the state by GA DOE officials.

For almost years the Priests have served faithfully as "right hand helpers" to Joyce Alves of North Georgia Food Ministry. Every week for the past 2 years at least they have made the long drive to metro Atlanta to pick up a van load of food for the ministry. They don't just transport the food they load and unload it, help people get the special things they need and then reload and go out to deliver food to a number of drop off points and then ome back and run a food route of their own so that people who are in need can be sure of at least having something in their stomachs. This faithful, cheerful service would be remarkable in any case but it is more remarkable because both have very serious physical disabilities. Most people in their state of health would be sitting back waiting for someone to help them but Tom and Mertise say their greatest joy is helping others.

Our first real memory of Mertise is her climbing down out of the van on what was at least the fifth stop of the day, blue around the lips and almost gasping for each breath. "Isn't this wonderful what Joyce has done for us" she said "I always wanted to help people and didn't know how to get started. And she has given us a way to do it". And they have kept on doing it and doing it. Joyce says that they kept the ministry going almost single handed when she was hospitalized. Please keep Tom and Mertise in your prayers. Each has life threatening health problems.

Ruben and Mary Marucio founded LAMP ministries (Latin American Mission Project) in Gainesville GA. to bring people face to face with the love of Jesus. Their vision was that LAMP would shine the light of Jesus and dispell darkness first with the area's large Hispanic popluation and secondarily with the community as a whole. The vision was to preach the JESUS in deed as well as in words.

Ruben and Mary operate Gainesville's only full time year round family shelter. The shelter is open to anyone who is without a home regardless of ethnic background. Space is very limited. There have been times when teens living at the shelter and volunteer workers have bunked on the living room floor or on the enclosed porch to make room for families and children. Ruben and Mary make their home at LAMP house and are on 24 hour call for emergencies. Does the Hospital need a translator? Is there a homeless teen aged mother with a sick baby, a flood in at a mobile home park, a teen gang fight, a troubled kid at YDC who needs a Spanish Pastor, a hungry family? someone in need of food, or clothes, or water or a job? A truck full of disaster relief supplies to unload, a dying mother who needs Jesus? They are called for all of these needs and many more. And they respond. Somehow a 3 bedroom house expands to take in one more family. A job is found. A gang fight averted. Somehow strength is found in Jesus. An immigration problem is solved, an exhausted worker from another ministry finds strength and comfort. Somehow - by the grace of God. There are never enough resources. And yet "The Lord provides" as Ruben says. There are never enough hours in the day and yet "Jesus is our strength" Mary will tell you even as she seeks Him for strength and patience and much wisdom.

In the spring and summer of 1998 LAMP became home to a number of homeless teens. Kids who every statistic proved should have been adicts, unwed mothers, gang bangers and some of them had been but buy God's grace they have met Jesus and are shining with His love. One young man, Eric was deep in gang life and drugs when he came in contact with LAMP. He saw no place for him in the church or in society and yet the power of God was stronger than the devil's chains. Today, less than 6 months later, Eric is on fire for the LORD, seeking opportunities to preach and share his testimony and to win souls from the very fires of hell where he once burned with hatered.

Olean Kinsey, Shirley Kinsey and Outreach Christian Ministries are going through very difficult times and changes at this point in their lives. In respect for these changes and their privacy we are omitting personal and ministry info here at this time. Please join us in praying for them.


Joyce Alves founded and directs North Georgia Food Ministry in Cleveland GA. This ministry takes donated food from a ministry near Atlanta and other sources and shares it with people in need and with other ministries. IN 1997 NGFM served 800 people each week in some of the most rural parts of Georgia directly or through other ministries. A number of other food ministries have now started in this area several of them inspired by or offshoots from NGFM. As of January, 2000 NGFM serves "only" 200-350 people a week.

Joyce began her ministry just taking bread around in her van and stopping where she felt in her spirit or saw with her eyes that there might be a need. There usually was. Our outatanding memory of Joyce is of her standing in the pouring rain beside her van getting soaked to the skin while using her one hand to hold an umbrella over some one who was criticising the food. That was her 5th stop that rainy day and there were at least that many yet to go. The ministry has grown and grown and grown. Serving 800 people would be wonderful in an urban setting. Out here in the mountains it is almost miraculous. Not even Joyce knows how some people have found her. Or how they knew it was OK to come. Unfortunately in this area there have been some sources of "help" that were very negative towards people in need and very restrictive. NGFM is unique in its no questions asked approach. This might not work everywhere but God watches over His own and abuses are almost nonesistant.

Joyce actually helps people with a lot more than food. Several have come to know Jesus through sharing times at the ministry. Others have received reassurance of God's love. And still others have realized life long dreams of having a way to help people. Joyce has a real gift for empowering folks who want to serve and giving just enough direction to keep them on the right track while keeping it their ministry and God's.

Please pray for Joyce. Specifically she has life threatening health problems and others that won't kill her but hurt horribly. She is able to function only by God's grace. (He knows how very much we all need her). God recently blessed her with the gift of a new trailer (actually it is 4 years old but new to her) This solved a major problem because her 23 year old mobile home had become virtually uninhabitable and totally impossible to heat or cook in. Seeing this wonderful blessing has helped many in this area understand more about the love of Jesus. Right now she says her greatest need is for a canopy to shelter the food distribution. At one point the ministry had the use of a building but those in charge objected to bread and other food being given to the same old ladies week after week apparently not understanding that these people had incomes under $200 a month and for some this was their only food. So Joyce moved the ministry to her property and prays for something to keep the bread and the people dry and safe. This canopy would cost about $300. As you can guess finances are a very serious problem too. If you wish to contact Joyce Alves you can reach her at 706 865-3727 or through our email link.


In 1997 Caring Hands Ministries recognized
of Cleveland, GA for over 50 years of showing forth the love of Jesus. No one but Jesus knows all the ways Mervin has helped people and still does.

It started as a family tradition perhaps. Her mother ran a store in South Georgia and many folks got through hard times with her help. Mervin married and moved north to the mountains. Her own family had little and yet they reached out to those with less. Her children tell of a day when they were small when Benny, Mervin's husband, had finally gotten some money for store bought necessities like flower and meal. Before the day was out he had given every bit of it away to a family with a sick baby.

Mervin was one of the founders of Georgia Mountain Arts and Crafts a coop designed to provide income for the mountain people as well as to preserve the traditional arts and crafts.

She founded and directed North Georgia Helping Hands to share God's love in practical ways with people in need.

Mervin now serves on CHMI executive board and heads up our ongoing food distribution program.

Mervin is 78 years old and we are concerned for her privacy so if you should wish to contact her please do so through CHMI. Please keep her in your prayers as she shares God's love. And pray for the salvation of her son and daughters. Some have known Jesus but are not walking as close to Him as a concerned mama would like. Please pray also for her health. Christmas eve 1999 she fell on the way back from going to see if her neighbor was OK and broke her wrist and cracked her pelvis. She was in the hospital 2 weeks and is now recuperating at home. She also has other needs her body to receive the healing she knows that Jesus bought for her.

You will find more about these beautiful examples of God's love on our home page and on the page that talks about the scriptural basis of our ministry and the qualifications of those who are part of God's ministry team in CHMI.

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