LAMP Re-Visits its Roots of Serving the Less Fortunate

| October 4, 2016


VALDOSTA- For over 30 years, Lowndes Associated Ministries to People, Inc. also known as LAMP, has served the homeless population in over nine surrounding counties including Brooks, Berrien, Colquitt, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes and Thomas.  Originally, founded in 1984 by several groups of individuals, churches and synagogue in Lowndes County.  The organization was developed as a clearing house that would monitor and steward the distribution of local assistance dollars and now serves as the local mission for the homeless.  In July, the organization hired Sharah Denton as its Development Director and more recently, Feleica Harrintgon as the Shelter Director.

Together, both women have realized they share the same vision for the growth of LAMP and re-building the organization to its roots.  Harrington has begun re-organizing the direction of the shelter even down to the atmosphere and upkeep. There are many success stories from the shelter including individuals who at one time used LAMPs shelter and services and now volunteer their time and or now employees of the shelter.

From the development side, Denton says that she truly believes LAMP is an organization that not only has overcome obstacles, but has become a platform for targeting clients around the community that may need services while bringing hope to the community based on the organizations 80% success rate.   Denton has began strengthening relationships with prospective and current donors and hopes that the local churches and community understand that LAMP is a safe haven for the homeless however, it comes with great accountability.  “Many times our homeless community gets overlooked due to misconceptions and stereotypes.  With compassion and true understanding of what LAMP provides for the community, our hope is that LAMP continues to grow and fulfill the mission and vision it was founded on over 30 years ago,” says Denton.  Denton also credits having a strong working board of directors with key influential individuals from various experiences and walks of life. The board of directors have the same vision of providing a hand up, not a hand out.

“Many of us do not realize that we could be homeless, every story is not the same and neither is every outcome,” says Denton.  Harrington adds, “We provide opportunities for self-sufficiency, if we can help someone reach their full potential we have done our due diligence.”  The organization utilizes grants and community support to provide various opportunities to the homeless population.  LAMP provides emergency shelter and long-term housing for homeless families, single parents, single men and single women with the goal of returning them to self-sufficiency.  During the day, residents of the shelter have to be out of the building and working, looking for employment or in school.  LAMP also has a day center where non-residents may wash clothes, job search (in the computer lab), participate in empowerment classes, take showers as well as other basic needs.  Student organizations, Park Avenue United Methodist Church, several other churches have consistently been active and supportive in providing opportunities for residents including: budgeting, money management, stress and time management, parenting classes, resume writing, GED tutoring, providing meals and teaching job interview skills.

LAMP works with other support agencies to target community program referrals that, assist in providing support to residents in the shelter.  Programs in the shelter include: mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, wellness programs and post-secondary education services. Both Denton and Harrington believe in LAMP and see its growing potential to make an even stronger impact in not only Lowndes, however, in the nine surrounding counties it serves.  “We both want the community to understand that we are true to our motto, A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out.  Accountability and structure are very important to the continued success and support from our community,” says Denton.

The organization has lined up a few events including a celebrity macaroni cook off competition on November 17 during National Homeless Awareness week, Art Auction and Charity Bowling Tournament on November 1st. The annual Changing Lives Fundraising Dinner is scheduled on Thursday, March 2nd at 6 pm.  Both Denton and Harrington encourage the local churches regardless of denomination, schools and volunteers to participate in the upcoming events and support is greatly appreciated. Donors both current, prospective and past are welcomed to tour the facilities and see where their monetary support is going.  For more information about LAMP visit, or call 229-245-7157.

Pictured Left to Right: Sharah Denton, LAMP Development Director and Feleica Harrintgon, LAMP Shelter Director.

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