By Jason A. Smith and Mehgaan Jones
Georgia Power Company employees, and their family members, marked the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by providing services for non-profit organizations in Henry and Clayton counties.
The volunteer effort is part of a service program the company has offered for the last decade, according to spokesman, Jim Barber. "Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is a company holiday for us, but we celebrate it as a day on, versus a day off," Barber said.
"King was very much about helping others. We think it's important to honor his legacy through service to the community. This year, our employees volunteered for about 59 service projects across the state," Barber said.
In Henry, Georgia Power volunteers assisted staff members at the Haven House domestic-violence shelter, where they sorted clothes and helped clean up. Barber said they also spent time, Monday, at the Helping in His Name food pantry, in Stockbridge. "They were sorting food items, and doing general cleanup for that organization," he said.
Marjorie Lacy, the executive director of Haven House, said that, in addition to serving at the shelter's Blessings Thrift Store, volunteers pitched in at the Haven House's administrative offices in McDonough.
"They purged files in preparation for our move," Lacy explained. "We have a new facility that is being built with [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] funds. We won't be ready to move for a few months, but we're preparing right now for the move."
Haven House, which currently holds about 20 beds for residents, will house about 60 beds at its new location, she added.
The shelter director said the help she received was "tremendous," from about 20 volunteers in the Georgia Power group. "We couldn't have gotten that much accomplished," Lacy said. "It would have taken us forever. We can't stop long enough to do all the pruning of our files, because it is a huge job. The phone rings all the time. We're busy."
Lacy commended the volunteers for their willingness to help her and her staff, while honoring Dr. King. "Being concerned about your community, and helping others is probably key to his message," said Lacy.
In neighboring Clayton County, Georgia Power volunteers continued their public service efforts.
Barber said volunteers performed services such as light cleaning, painting, organizing storage space, and sorting donations at the Clayton County Association Against Family Violence Inc., also known as Securus House, in addition to shelters that include: Rainbow House, Inc., Hope House, and the House of Dawn.
Securus House Executive Director Patricia Altemus said Georgia Power also provided clients with breakfast and lunch. "They [ volunteers] did some work on the inside, which included putting new locks on doors, and general cleanup," said Altemus. She added that Georgia Power volunteers lend a helping hand to Securus House every year.
Securus House provides shelter, support, counseling and advocacy for victims of family violence in Clayton County and the surrounding metro-Atlanta counties, according to the shelter's web site.
"[Georgia Power ] provides services to us that we do not necessarily have the funds to do," said Altemus. She added that Georgia Power is an example of a company whose true mission is to help others.
"We wanted to honor the legacy [of Martin Luther King, Jr.] with service," Jim Barber said.