Roof damage threatens local charity's services



ATLANTA - Heavy rains in the past two months have caused further roof damage to Caring for Others, a charitable organization in southeast Atlanta that assists thousands of households in the metro Atlanta area each year.

"All over our building, we tried to patch it. We patch, patch and unfortunately we cannot patch anymore," said charity founder Eslene Richmond-Shockley.

Richmond-Shockley told Channel 2's Tom Regan increasing mold and damp floors have created a health and safety risk for volunteer workers and beneficiaries. She said her organization is worried about liability in the event of an accident or illness.

"Right now, it looks like we have to close the doors until we have this roofing situation fixed," said Richmond-Shockley.

The founder and director said she would like to have the roof replaced, but her organization cannot afford the estimated at $150,000. Workers have placed barrels to catch the leaking rainwater, which continued during thunderstorms on Wednesday.

Richmond-Shockley founded her human-services organization a dozen years ago. It provides food, donated new clothing, shoes, furniture and other items to families and individuals who cannot afford basic necessities. The organization is funded through private donations and sales at an onsite department store on Browns Mill Road in southeast Atlanta.

Richmond-Shockley said she is hopeful someone will donate materials to replace the roof, which would reduce costs and allow the distribution center to remain open.

"I'm trying to hold up from not letting tears come into my eyes. When I started, it was a challenge. But I made it. This is overwhelming," Richmond-Shockley said.

People who dropped by the store to shop Wednesday said they are saddened to hear of the roof leaks, but also hopeful the organization can keep its doors open.

"I'm devastated. She helps a lot of people and has a heart of gold. It would be great loss if it shut down," said Karen Young.

Click here for information on Caring for Others.

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