Legacy of 'Big Mama' helps homeless

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Marche' Carpenter wants people to know most of the homeless don't fit the stereotypes.

"It's not easy being homeless," said Mr. Carpenter, who has been staying at the Augusta Rescue Mission for two weeks since leaving Athens, Ga., to look for more job opportunities.

"When people see that you're homeless, instead of offering a hand to help or encouraging words, they tend to look down on you. They think that everyone who is homeless is on drugs or an alcoholic," he said. "I'm not, and a lot of homeless people I've run into aren't. It's just that life happened and they ended up out here. I don't think anyone wants to be homeless."

He has been homeless "off and on" for six years since his divorce, he said.

"I know where I want to be, and I have a plan to get there," he said. "Right now, I'm just trying to get up enough money so I can get back on that path."

Katrina Moore heard similar stories over and over Saturday during an event for the homeless at Dyess Park that featured entertainment, food and games.

It was sponsored by Big Mama's House of Love Inc., founded by Ms. Moore.

"People have to realize how important it is to help those in need," she said. "We never know when we may be in that situ- ation. People are losing jobs and their homes every day. Some people are just a paycheck away from being homeless. That's why we can never look down on those in need, because one day it could be us."

Ms. Moore founded the nonprofit in 2007 in memory of her grandmother Rosa Lee Barnes. Mrs. Barnes, 83, was killed July 11, 1997, in a drive-by shooting in Augusta while sitting on the side of her bed.

"Big Mama -- that's what we called her -- had a big heart," Ms. Moore said. "She opened her doors to those in need and she didn't turn her back on anyone. It was in that same spirit that I founded this organization. I wanted her legacy to live on."

The organization's next goal is to secure a building so it can offer more services, including shelter, job search assistance, financial planning and relocation assistance.

"We have come a long way from where we started two years ago, but once we obtain a building, we can do so many other things to help those in need," Ms. Moore said. "That's our vision -- to provide a starting-over home, a home of love for the homeless."

For information or to donate, visit www.bigmamashouseoflove.com or contact Ms. Moore at (706) 284-8793 or kmoore@bigmamashouseoflove.com.

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (21) Add comment
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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/28/09 - 05:23 am
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This is a pretty story, but

This is a pretty story, but lacks reality. If you provide a free ride, you discourage people from doing for themselves. Look at the current subsidy population! A HUGE and growing part of our country has been seduced into living on the dole. This private effort makes more sense in that those wishing to support this lifestyle may and the taxpayer won't be forced to contribute. "Being homeless isn't easy" is a stupid comment. Being homeless isn't supposed to be easy. Being homeless means taking some terribly wrong turns along life's path to become homeless. "Life happened" is a stupid comment. Take control of your life and don't let life just happen to you. While I applaud Ms Moore for doing what she considers to be right, the people she's chosen to help aren't victims of life, but victims of their chosen lifestyle.

prolifer
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prolifer 06/28/09 - 08:43 am
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patriciathomas, is there ANY

patriciathomas, is there ANY subject you can find a pleasant word to contribute. You are a mean-spirited person. The point is they are homeless and need help. The comments may be stupid to you but the organization didn't ask for your help. Obviously you didn't have a mother figure in your life. If you had, you would know...If you can't say something nice, keep your (BIG) mouth shut. And BTW, your comebacks don't bother me. I realized a long time ago you are lifeless.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/28/09 - 09:17 am
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prolifer, tough love is a

prolifer, tough love is a viable alternative to enabling. Mean-spirited isn't the opposite of stupid, I'd say realist was a closer term. Your fantasies are very pretty and would make a good movie, but don't apply to real life. How many charities do you run?

colcamp1
10
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colcamp1 06/28/09 - 09:25 am
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" There but for the grace of

" There but for the grace of GOD go I ". PT I guess those words never touched your heart? Everyone circumstance is not the same. You can call it realistic, I rather call it cold hearted. I guess you criticize organizations like Children Miracle Network, United Way, Easter Seal and Salvation Army. I guess they should juts use " Tough love"?

prolifer
0
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prolifer 06/28/09 - 09:27 am
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patriciathomas, the ? of the

patriciathomas, the ? of the day is not how many charities I run but how many brain cells do you have left. You used a few sophisticated words in that last post. Didn't use the remainder of the cells did you? You are still lifeless. That's all the attention you get from me today.

Tots
26205
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Tots 06/28/09 - 09:52 am
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checkit@10:42-Now that

checkit@10:42-Now that sounded mean- spirited.

prolifer
0
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prolifer 06/28/09 - 09:59 am
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Checkit wins the post of the

Checkit wins the post of the day award for his 1042 post!!!

check
20
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check 06/28/09 - 10:48 am
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The article "Renter

The article "Renter affordability worsens over the decade" in today's bussiness section is another example of how people do not choose homelessness as a lifestyle. Add to the equation the "hidden homeless" (federal defination for families without a home staying in a friend or other family member's back room). Thank goodness for resources such as Big Mama's. Ms. Moore coordinated the park event without an office or building site?!?? Now that is an American making a real difference.

mgroothand
5
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mgroothand 06/28/09 - 12:00 pm
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Ms patriciathomas and I have

Ms patriciathomas and I have never met. Her many posts and comments are always well thought out and intelligent. She and I have one thing in common; Neither one of us are adherents to PC, she tells it as she sees it. I don't believe for a moment that she has a racist bone in her body and I for one am tired of the same posters piling on Ms thomas. patriciathomas does not need any help from me, when she feels the need to defend herself, she does so admirably and with her usual blend of wit and sarcasm. I admire her if only from afar. Go for it patricia!!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/28/09 - 12:39 pm
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colcamp, you mean if not for

colcamp, you mean if not for "luck" you'd be homeless? What does that say for your decision making abilities? or your sense of self worth? Personally, I've been pennyless and living out of a rucksack and have never been close to being homeless or helpless. The Salvation Army isn't a government entity. United Way combines tax money and charitable donations, but won't support the boy scouts because they won't promote the homo life style (the girl scouts do). If you ever looked into the Children's Miracle Network, you'd see they're a "promotion" organization who returns a tiny percentage of the donations to the children. The rest goes to "administration costs". My point, a little knowledge is nowhere near as good as a lot of knowledge.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/28/09 - 12:39 pm
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prolifer, fantasies are fine,

prolifer, fantasies are fine, I just like to keep them in their place.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/28/09 - 12:41 pm
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checkit, I know, white

checkit, I know, white peoples bees bad, giving money to people who won't work bees good. I get it. I just don't understand it. It's a conservative thing, you wouldn't understand.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/28/09 - 12:49 pm
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mgroothand, thank you for

mgroothand, thank you for your kind works. Coming from a man of your accomplishments and wisdom, I consider them a very great compliment. As far as the lefties piling on goes, who would I be if I gave them power over my emotions? If they didn't post their opinions, how would we know who they truly are? From my perspective, they can post whatever they feel. It gives me an opportunity to riposte.

mgroothand
5
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mgroothand 06/28/09 - 01:17 pm
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For many years the TV station

For many years the TV station I worked for ran the MDA telethon. Shortly after I became the GM there a man stopped by to shake my hand and offer congratulations. As it turned out, he was the regional director for MDA telethons. My station blanketed Montreal, Canada and for that reason we were a highly prized MDA contributor. I found out that there were only 24 people in our American market afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy and the money donated by Canadians did not stay in Canada. I informed the congratulator that we would no longer be part of the MDA telethon. He panicked, went over my head to corporate and won. By then he thought he had me in his pocket and offered the station much less money to carry the telethon. (Yes, TV stations are paid handsomely to carry any telethon.) I refused and told him no thanks. Again he went over my head but this time corporate backed me. We told our Canadian audience that their donations would not help Canadians afflicted with MD. Their donations almost totally dropped off. Some of these telethons are a racket and be careful who or what you donate to. This is also true for religious telethons.

Ode
5
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Ode 06/28/09 - 01:52 pm
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Let private orgs and

Let private orgs and charities fund the homeless and those who have made a lifetime of bad choices instead of forcing it on unwilling taxpayers. People need to be taught at a young age that their actions have consequences instead of expecting the taxpayer to keep supporting them regardless.

jerryyoung
1
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jerryyoung 06/28/09 - 03:51 pm
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Thanks for those, like Ms.

Thanks for those, like Ms. Moore (and Ms. Carpenter), that have the heart to help others in need. They chose to help others without being judge and jury. Sometimes hard times and extreme and difficult situations can cause hardship that some are unable to overcome without help and/or guidance. Ms. Moore wants to offer services that can help those in need regain self-sufficiency. Her efforts are applauded by me.

dani
12
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dani 06/28/09 - 04:19 pm
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Pat and Groot...A-1 in my

Pat and Groot...A-1 in my book. Keep it up guys.

Ghost Writer
0
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Ghost Writer 06/28/09 - 05:23 pm
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In regards to mgroothand's

In regards to mgroothand's 1:00PM post, all I can do is shake my head and laugh.

disssman
6
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disssman 06/28/09 - 06:17 pm
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We must do something, but

We must do something, but please don't take any of the money we have dedicated to rebuilding the MIller or other non-profits and give it to these type programs. I just wonder how far 12 million or so would go for an organization for the homeless. Also please keep these type people away from our new KROC center when it is built, wouldn't want to damage the new facilities image with homeless people.

jewel
3
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jewel 06/28/09 - 06:19 pm
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Your day is near!

Your day is near!

christie
0
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christie 06/28/09 - 10:47 pm
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I have mixed feelings on this

I have mixed feelings on this subject because i am a kind hearted person who wants to give and do for all people and I teach my kids that. I told my 13 year old, when someone walks up to you and ask for some change or a couple of dollors, why not give it. Something that you will never miss (the couple of dollors) could be a meal for that person. Times are hard. The thing I have a problem with is when you see the same people day in and day out stand on the same corner. I don't know but i feel like giving a couple of bucks will not hurt my pocket but may be a meal for that person asking.

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