web1_Emmaus

Volunteers clean up around tent cities in LaGrange

Volunteers clean up around tent cities

Melanie Ruberti

mruberti@civitasmedia.com

The Emmaus Shelter clients and volunteers stand outside a tent city off Commerce Avenue that has become home to some homeless people. The Emmaus group spent part of Tuesday cleaning up the empty lot area that had become filled with trash and other items.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_Emmaus.jpgThe Emmaus Shelter clients and volunteers stand outside a tent city off Commerce Avenue that has become home to some homeless people. The Emmaus group spent part of Tuesday cleaning up the empty lot area that had become filled with trash and other items. Submitted

LaGRANGE — When a fight turned dangerous early Tuesday morning at a homeless camp off Commerce Avenue, there was little Emmaus Shelter executive director Jessica David could do to protect her clients.

According to an LaGrange Police Department report, one of the members in the tent city was attacked around 4 a.m. while sleeping inside his tent by someone who jumped on top of him and cut the side of his face. The attacker then fled the scene, but was arrested a few hours later and taken to jail.

David went to the scene and was shocked. In the area where one tent used to house one of her male clients now sprawls an entire city. People with no place to go brought tents and are now calling the small piece of property “home.”

The new tent-dwellers have also brought a lot of trash, David said.

“At least seven other homeless have folks moved in there and without garbage bags or a dumpster over there. Things got messy very quickly.”

A lunch meeting with friends reminded David of the importance of serving others.

“We had a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ at lunch, remembering the orders from the Lord to love our neighbors as ourselves and love one another,” she explained. “Everyone was reminded that they get to sleep inside. We grew in thankfulness and continued our commitment to Keep Troup Beautiful.

“We took 16 people, two vans and a pick-up truck from Emmaus and went to the rescue. When we arrived, another vagrant walking through the area jumped in to help, and everyone staying in a tent helped, too.”

With the hot sun beating down, extreme humidity and little wind to keep them cool, the group picked up every piece of trash they could find at the empty lot off Commerce Avenue. David said the crew had the place cleaned up within a half an hour.

The Emmaus Shelter will do it again, if needed, she said.

“We will continue to go in where others can’t without fear, but in love and service to our community that cares so much for the guests of Emmaus. We care about people on the streets and want to help them with their issues while continuing to educate and encourage our good neighbor policy.”

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.