photo credit: Saved by Grace

This article is a series that will be highlighting the challenges in serving the homeless in the community of Glynn County. 


It all started with a drive through a trailer park and a car ride taking two strangers home..

“Once strangers, now partners and friends, we are on a mission to change the way people see those that are less fortunate, those left alone and overlooked.”~ Saved by Grace Founders

All on Georgia-Glynn recently sat down with Saved by Grace founders, Maria and Donna and interviewed them about their mission.  Here is the original interview.

Upon learning about the number of families that live in the motels in our own backyard, we felt it was important to follow up with the stories of these individuals and families and help address the need here in our county.  Donna and Maria will regularly provide updates to All on Georgia Glynn to educate the public about the homeless population and bring awareness to their work.

Here is last week’s update.

Photo credit Saved by Grace Glynn Meet Donna Howard (left) and Maria Gamble (right), founders of Saved By Grace Glynn. Donna is the wife of Tim & mother of Marysa, Jason, Stephanie, Grace & Brady. Maria is the wife of Steve and mother to Lindsey. She works in the hospitality industry & is totally in love with her first grandchild, Addison! We are both passionate about serving people we meet where they are, not after they are “cleaned up” or fixed.

This weekend started out like any other.  Loaded up the car and headed to the motels.  It was great to be in familiar territory.  Everyone remembered us from the previous visit and were happy to see us.  Children ran up to the car to see what we had – juice, chips, plastic bowls, can openers, food, etc.

So many more stories. 

Ms. “A” a 33 year old female, homeless, just moves from place to place.  Staying there with 2 friends.  HIV positive.  A mom who no longer has her children.  No job, no family.  No hope for a better tomorrow.  Told us her story with tears in her eyes.  Mentioned twice to me that she AIDS.  Maybe she thought we wouldn’t help her if we knew, so she wanted to be sure we heard her.  She wasn’t able to apply for food stamps because she has no address.  Because she is homeless, our government would only qualify her for $16.00 a month.  It wasn’t worth the paperwork or the time to complete it for $16.00.

Mr. W – we met him last weekend, but as of Friday, he no longer had a place to stay.  He could no longer afford $260.00 week for a motel room.  He is employed and receives a paycheck but it isn’t enough.  He had been sleeping in a truck loaned to him by his boss.  We were able to locate him a motel room and paid $270.00 for him to stay for the week.  He was so grateful to be able to shower and have a place to lay his head.  He mentioned he had given someone $10.00 two weeks ago to do his laundry.  They took his money, clothes and he hasn’t seen them since.  So now each day he has to go buy something to wear to work.  He hadn’t showered in two days.  Mr. W has no ID, was recently released from prison and will be on probation for a very long time.  But does this mean he doesn’t deserve a bed, a hot shower, food?  No.  He deserves it just as much as you and I do.  He couldn’t believe someone was willing to help him.  How could we turn him away?  How could we say no and contribute to the homelessness problem here in our own back yard? 

Many times, we choose not to see what is around us.  We walk with blinders on, with no concern for anyone but ourselves.  See, that’s how Donna and I were before we started this journey.  Now we see them everywhere.  Just open your eyes – I promise you they are there.  Not everyone looks homeless or looks in need, but you never know what people are experiencing in their lives on a daily basis.  We are all great at putting on a front, or hiding our emotions.

While trying to find Mr. W a motel room, we encountered high prices, people unwilling to let him stay because he was African-American.  Finally, we found a place, but I had to use my ID because he didn’t have one.  That now makes me responsible for his room.  Was I worried about that?  I won’t lie, of course I was, but at some point, we have to have faith in people.  Trust them, that they will do the right thing.

People have donated to Saved By Grace over the last year and a half, not for us to sit on their money, but to use it wisely and to help others.  So that’s what we do.  We found people this weekend wanting to donate back to us, even if it was only $2.00 because we had helped them.  I begged them not to give it to us, because I knew that may have been the last $2.00 they had but they were persistent and said it made them feel good to give back.

We will be following up with Mr. W to help him get an ID and make sure he has what he needs.  We don’t just help people once.  We keep on until they are self sufficient.  It takes longer for some than others, but Mr. W has determination and willpower.  He’s a hard worker and doesn’t expect a free ride.  He’s willing to do what he needs to do to survive.

Sometimes people just want to know someone cares.  They want someone to listen.  That’s what we do.  We know people tell us what they want us to hear and maybe we don’t always get the truth or the whole story, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we left someone a little better than we found them.

~Saved by Grace-Glynn

For more information on Saved By Grace Glynn, visit us at www.savedbygraceglynn.com.  We are also on Facebook “Saved By Grace Glynn”.  You can email us at savinggrace1616@gmail.com.

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