By Sarrah Peters/News Editor
In 1982, Charlsie Tarrance was inspired to provide shelter to “God’s most forgotten people.” Tarrance noticed the problem of homelessness in Etowah County and created The Love Center to provide clothing, food, furniture and shelter to those in need.
“Since 1985, The Love Center has provided homeless single women, couples and families with children with long-term housing and meals,” said board member Gail Keeling-Smith. “This is only made possible through generous funding we have received from members of our community.”
The two biggest problems The Love Center has are lack of public visibility and lack of funds.
The lack of public visibility extends to the problem of homelessness in Etowah County. Many don’t realize it is a problem, although at any given time the number of homeless in Etowah County may exceed 200 people. The Love Center has begun an ambassador program and a marketing campaign to remind citizens of Etowah County what The Love Center offers to the community.
The Love Center was able to assist 144 clients in 2015. Thirty-five of those clients were children. That is 4,014 nights of shelter and 12,042 meals for its clients in the last year alone.
“Our shelter has been almost full each month with an average of 15 to 20 folks,” said Love Center Director Ruth Adcock.
The lack of funds is a big problem facing the shelter. To operate efficiently, the shelter needs about $7000 a month, but currently receives less than $2500. The Love Center staff and board have been applying for federal grants to continue running the shelter, but it may not be enough. The Love Center board has been discussing fundraising ideas to supplement the grant money the shelter hopes to receive. However, The Love Center needs the community’s support to continue to offer shelter for the homeless population of Etowah County.
“Currently, The Love Center is in need of monetary donations to help maintain its operating budget,” said Keeling-Smith. “Please consider making a donation of any amount.”
Payments may be made through Pay Pal by visiting the shelter’s Facebook page, Love Center Gadsden. To donate through the mail, make checks payable to The Love Center and mail to P.O. Box 1013, Gadsden, AL 35902. Donations of food, prepared meals, personal care items and household goods are also welcome.
For more information, call 256-546-8831.