Chaplains at Local Center Seeing Record Numbers

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  For more than 70 years, the Open Door Community House has given local folks dealing with tough times the help they need to get back on their feet.

And now, staff members say more people than ever before are turning to the Columbus agency.

"We are seeing people at Open Door Community House that have never had to come to an agency before to ask for anything; people who have worked all their lives and they just cannot find work- painters, construction workers, truck drivers, people who have been laid off from jobs they've had for years and years and now they just don't have enough food to make it through the week," said Sandy Hortman who is the center's assistant chaplain and counselor.

Open Door is now aiding 500 people a day and both of their chaplains are counseling up to 30 people each on a daily basis.

Those who've turned to the center say they've been given more than just advice and resources. They say it's literally opened new doors for them.

"Open Door has helped me in many ways as far as counseling and also for clothing and the food bank. They have been like a family to me and I've really enjoyed being here. I look forward to transitioning to a better life and a better place so I thank God for Open Door," said Helene Hudson.

"Sometimes you think life is over in terms of achievement at a certain age so I feel like it's a new start for me, a new beginning. There's always hope," added Angel Rivera.

Officials with Open Door say their doors are always open to the public.

It's located off 2nd Avenue in Columbus and it's open from 8 AM to 5 PM on weekdays.

The chaplains have counseling hours in the morning and afternoon.