Nonprofit helping moms, kids still recovering from Newnan tornado

NEWNAN, Ga. — It has been nine months since a tornado hit Coweta County, and some folks are still recovering.

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There’s a lot of focus on getting roofs fixed and shelter for those displaced, but one local nonprofit sees so many other losses and is focusing on mental health and other needs

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes went down to Newnan to see how they’re helping.

If you go down to Coweta County, you’ll still see people reconstructing their homes, especially in Newnan.

A tornado hit the area hard back on March 26.

Many folks, especially single moms, had to move out of the homes they were renting. Their cars were damaged, they lost their jobs, and many didn’t have the means to get back onto their feet.

Luke Ayers runs a nonprofit called the Hope Center in Newnan, and he decided to focus on getting those moms back on track.

“We started making it to where I’ll let other organizations fix houses and pay bills, we’re gonna focus on hundreds of kids who don’t have a safe place to go,” Ayers said. “So the very first thing we did, we had to get the youth center open. The city of Newnan came on board, construction crews came on board and we started opening seven days a week right here at the youth center.”

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And that really helped Jaslin Payton.

“I’m a single mother of five boys, and like when it happened I’m just like, ‘what are we gonna do?’” Payton said. “And Mr. Luke, as soon as he found out, he was on the way like, ‘OK, I’ll take the kids, you just clear your mind because I know you’re going through a lot.’”

“We started a program to work with more of her mental health, their emotional health,” Ayers said. “We started giving moms ‘mornings out’ where they could drop the kids off and let them have a mama day.”

The Hope Center also provided Payton with a vehicle – so she could get back and forth to work.

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“With five kids being stuck, not being able to work, you know, do this or go here, like I really needed transportation, and they got me a minivan, just enough for me and my kids,” Payton said. “It runs, no car note, just pay the insurance. If it wasn’t for them, I really don’t know where we’d be. Would I still have my kids?”

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