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She Gives a Home to Those Without

Carol Paschal and her husband started Cobb Street Ministries in 1973.

They come to her homeless, some battered and/or addicted, in need of a place to stay until they can get their life together.

Carol Paschal explains it more simply. She helps women "who are hurting."

Paschal and her deceased husband, Harvey, started Cobb Street Ministries in 1973 to assist those who needed their help.

The couple was making plans to go to Ecuador as missionaries when they changed their minds.

"We didn't realize how many people were hurting here," said Paschal recently as she sat in the kitchen of one of several houses in the Street Ministry complex in Austell.

The Marietta resident says in the beginning there were several donated houses county-wide. However, she wanted everybody together for obvious reasons.

For many years the ministry survived on Paschal's wallet, she said. Today the organization relies on donations and fundraisers.

"We didn't want to have to have fundraisers," Paschal said. But with the economy the way it is, the group has had to.

Most recently the ministry had a concert at to raise money.

Up to 30-some women have stayed at the ministry, where children often accompany their mothers. But a smaller number is better, Paschal said. Last week there were 12 women and four children.

Their stories often tug at Paschal's heart strings, she said.

The worst case that she can remember seeing was a mother, who had given birth in a car, and her five children who came to stay. The woman's husband was very abusive.

He came to the ministry and snatched a few of the children from the yard. They were later tracked down in Alabama and returned to their mother.

Paschal, who drank a strong cup of coffee as she talked with a stranger, said she'd been up all night with one of the residents. She smiles a tired smile and says often the women end up wanting an ear at 1:30 a.m.

Residents are often addicted to drugs or alcohol and need help. The ministry offers them a second chance, but they have to live up to their end of the bargain. Residents are drug-tested.

Others have been abused and have a very low self-esteem, Paschal says. At the ministry they get help with that along with resume-writing classes, bible study and parenting classes. Residents also get help with clothes, groceries and furniture.

The community "has been great," Paschal said of donations. There's even someone who comes to do nails and the occasional massage for the ladies.

Paschal, who has Amazing Grace as a ring tone, grew up in the area. She graduated from South Cobb High School and raised two daughters.

A wall in the kitchen is covered with photos of the children who have come through the ministry. She remembers each one and can tell you their story. Many return years later, all grown up. They want to give back to the ministry that helped their mothers and them.

There was the police officer that brought food one night. Another family made Christmas dinner and brought it over.

Paschal keeps in touch with so many of her former residents and has so many contacts in the community that she can get help for just about anybody.

Amazing Grace starts to play on her phone.

She has to take the call.

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Rhonda Collins April 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Wonderful, God-filled lady who loves all. Cobb County is so fortunate to have Cobb Street Ministries. Concert at the Strand was fantastic!
Donna Espy-Rypel April 11, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Great story about an amazing woman and her awesome ministry to women and children!

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