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Christian Studies Department, homeless shelter and food auction

Paige Sheffield

“They thought that we were going to be a bunch of snooty college kids,” said Arden Shanklin, sophomore liberal arts major as she reflected on her visit to the William S. Davies Homeless Shelter in Rome.

“They thought, ‘oh these kids coming from a Christian school are just doing this because they have to,’” Arden added, but clearly these “snooty college kids” from the Christian studies department had a greater purpose for serving at the shelter.

The William S. Davies Homeless Shelter, Inc. has been “providing a safe haven to the homeless of Rome/Floyd County … since 2003,” according to the website.

The shelter, located at 228 South Broad St., houses both men and women 18 years and older. The residents are allowed to stay as long as they need until they can move into homes of their own, but the residents must be pursuing better lifestyles in order to be accepted into the shelter.

Due to financial circumstances, the William S. Davies Homeless Shelter is raising funds to build a new establishment in East Rome.

Dr. Jeffrey Audirsch’s Christian studies students took it upon themselves to raise funds among the Shorter community to assist with building the new shelter. Shanklin is a member of the Christian studies class, which volunteered at the shelter and realized the need the William S. Davies organization has for a new location.

The class then formed a campaign team, which collected more than $1,200 to donate to the shelter.

“They have no idea … that we are going to write them a check for all the money that we have raised,” said Shanklin.

The campaign team raised money through the Good Food, Great Cause auction dinner and the “pie a professor” event, sponsored by the Christian studies department, as well as a spirit night at “Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt” sponsored by Greek students.

Phi Mu President Kaitlynn Cantrell, a senior early childhood education major, attended spirit night and said, “I think giving back to an organization such as the William Davies Homeless Shelter is a great way to serve your community. There are many homeless people in Rome … and I think that building a new shelter that’s larger and can hold more people is going to be beneficial to the Rome community.”

The Good Food, Great Cause auction dinner brought in the majority of the funds raised through the campaign. The auction dinner allowed Shorter students to bid on homemade dinners served at a number of professors’ houses.

“We feel it’s our job not only to teach students but to minister to them as well, and so we felt like having dinner in our home for students would give us a chance to really meet and greet and get to know them on a personal level,” said Communication Arts instructor Melissa Baskin.

She and her husband, Dr. Brent Baskin, assistant Christian studies professor, was just one couple who participated in the auction dinner.

Many of the Christian studies students have revisited the shelter and built relationships with its residents.

“It’s really cool … just to love on them, so that maybe [we] can impact their lives,” Shanklin stated. “Then maybe they can go out and impact someone else’s.”