When runners and walkers hit the pavement in March, their steps will make the difference for young ladies living in foster care in Coweta County.
For the 16th year in a row, the nonprofit organization Angel’s House will host the 2018 Run for Angels and Chicken Q in downtown Newnan.
Angel’s House provides a home for girls aged 13 - 17 years old living in foster care.
The home, based at an undisclosed location in Coweta County, opened its doors in 2003. They have housed 256 children since 2004. Girls may only stay a few nights or several months.
Angel’s House can shelter up to 10 girls at a time, but must leave two beds open for emergency situations, explained Lana Mobley.
Mobley is a member of the Angel’s House board of directors and publicity chair for the upcoming event.
The Run for Angels is not only the organization’s biggest event, but it is their only fundraiser throughout the year.
“The community needs to understand we appreciate everyone wanting to give at Christmas. But when you give, think about the house needs and needs all year long,” Mobley said. “Gift cards and cash donations go a long way. That gives house parents and staff the availability to move that money around as needed.”
In addition to the girls, two sets of house parents live in the home on a rotating basis. The adults act as the young ladies’ guardians and mentors.
“Their role is to be the parents of these wonderful foster children,” Mobley said. “They work with teachers, call in counseling services as needed, take the girls to doctor appointments and take them to any court hearings. When the girls come home, they make sure they do their homework. They prepare all the meals. They all sit down at the table for every meal and give these children a chance to experience what a normal home feels like.”
But a “normal home” comes with a steep price.
The highest costs for the organization include utilities and home maintenance, Mobley stated.
According to Mobley, Angel’s House operates at a fiscal shortfall each year.
While the state gives the group a per diem, the money does not cover all the expenses needed to provide services to the girls and keep the home functional.
It is the board’s responsibility to make up the financial shortfall, Mobley stated. Angel’s House depends on the kindness of strangers to provide monetary and product donations, as well as free services from area businesses.
The Run for Angels helps the board of directors shoulder the rest of the financial burden and keep the Angel’s House doors open to girls in need.
“By the community participating in the event, it gives these girls a life they might possibly not have otherwise,” Mobley said. “The girls learn and grow so when they do leave (Angel’s House) they are better prepared for what they face in the world.
“A little goes a long way,” she added. “Just by running, people will help feed, clothe and put a roof over the girl’s heads.”
The girls are also doing their part to ensure their lives stay on a successful path. Several of the girls graduated from high school while living at Angel’s House and received scholarships to the college of their choice, according to Mobley.
The 16th annual Run for Angels will be Saturday, Feb. 3 at the First United Methodist Church at 33 Greenville Street. The event features a 5K and 10K road race, in addition to a 1-mile fun run. The race will kick off at 8 a.m.
Registration costs $25 for the 5K, $35 for the 10K and $15 for the 1-mile fun run.
The board of directors hopes to register 1,200 runners for the 2018 event.
The group will also hold their annual “Chicken Q.” The plates include chicken from Huckleberrys plus potato salad, bread, baked beans and homemade desserts.
Tickets for the Chicken Q cost $10.
Anyone wanting to register for the Run for Angels or pre-order a chicken plate can visit www.theangelshouse.org/run.
For folks wishing to donate items or wanting more information, call Kaye Todd at 770-251-7050.
Angel’s House is always in need of supplies such as paper towels, napkins, feminine hygiene products and cleaning supplies, said Mobley.
Residents can also make a monetary donation any time they shop using the Amazon website. Click on smile.amazon.com. Angel’s House is listed on a registry of charities.
BY MELANIE RUBERTI