The ministry had its women's shelter approved through the city of Cedartown in September. The organizers had to go through some zoning procedures in order to officially open the shelter, which is located on College Street in Cedartown. The new shelter has a capacity for around 10 women to stay there.
James Slaughter started the Community Share Ministry in early 2011. He said that he ran five different Verizon stores in five different towns before he decided to open the shelters.
“God put it into my heart to give back to the community,” Slaughter said. “It seemed like lots of people were coming up to our business in need of help. I saw the need was plentiful, but there was no place for them to get help."
The men's shelter, located on Philpot Street in Cedartown, opened in April of 2011. Slaughter and Dennis Harrell, who runs the men's shelter, spoke of the challenges of starting from scratch.
“We had to go through the city to get the zoning part done,” Slaughter said. “They were able to help us. I think they saw my heart and knew what it was about. And I also think that with the economy they also saw the need."
“We opened up without any finances in the beginning and were taking it step-by-step by opening the store and raising the money we needed to pay the bills,” Slaughter said.
The ministry operates a thrift store on Main Street in Cedartown. Slaughter said that 95 percent of their funding comes from sales at the store; but a few local churches donate some money to the ministry.
With the official opening of the women's shelter, the ministry is now able to help more people in need.
“We provide meals and a bed for them to stay,” Slaughter said. “We also try to help them get a job. We help them with probation and other legal problems that they have. All the things in their life that Satan has destroyed we try to rebuild back in their life.”
Slaughter mentioned that his number one focus is to put families back together. He said that if there are children or a spouse involved he tries to work things out.
Another challenge that the ministry deals with is the addictions of the residents of the shelters. Harrell mentioned that many of the residents have drug or alcohol addictions and Slaughter said that they are helping with these problems as well.
“We try to help them with their relationship with Jesus Christ. A lot of programs have twelve steps, but I believe in a one step program; and that step is to him," Slaughter said. "We have seen more than anything that it works."
Harrell mentions that the ministry workers provide help through private counseling and bible study. They also the residents of the shelters attend church. The ministry opened its own church about seven months ago in part of the thrift store.
Slaughter said that most of the work is done by volunteers and by the residents of the shelters who come and help give out food or run the store.
Slaughter plans to open a children's shelter in Cedartown. He mentioned the high homeless rate of children in Atlanta.
“Just because we are 60 miles away doesn't mean we don't have any [homeless children]," said Slaughter.
Kim Harrell, wife of Dennis Harrell, runs the new Women's shelter. She said that there is a huge need for the ministry and shelters in the area. She also said that the organization could probably fill two more houses full of those in need. According to the Harrells, the men's shelter is currently housing 12 to 14 men and the women's shelter is housing 10 to 11 women, all of whom have nowhere else to go.
Slaughter said that the ministry is doing its best, but has been running in “lean mode” for the last two years. He said that they are in need of help from others.
Slaughter said their biggest needs are financial, so financial contributions from the community would be the greatest help. He also said that if people could volunteer some time at the thrift store, that it would be a big help to the ministry.
Those who would like to send donations or help the ministry with volunteering can contact Jason Slaughter by phone at 678-634-5395 or can come by the thrift store located at 910 S Main St. in Cedartown.