Women's shelter hosts charity bike ride

Amanda M. Usher | The Valdosta Daily Times Lisa Straughter, founder of the Meeting Place II Women's Transitional Center, is with resident Katina Wood. The shelter hosts Homes for the Homeless charity bike ride 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the center, 706 N. Toombs St. 

VALDOSTA – A single tear escaping her eyes, Katina Wood said being at the Meeting Place II Women’s Transitional Center has improved her life. 

“I feel better. I look better. I’m doing better,” she said. “I’m doing great.”

There has been a positive change in Wood’s circumstances since coming to the shelter four months ago.

She said Meeting Place II founder Lisa Straughter has assisted her emotionally and spiritually.

“She’s there for me when I’m able to talk. I can call and text her anytime. She’s just been great,” Wood said.

“She’s just there for me even more than just here. She’s a friend to me. I’m just grateful to have her. I’m glad God put me here with her.”

Wood said she plans to return to the Meeting Place II to volunteer after getting her own place.

To continue helping women in the community, such as Wood, the Meeting Place II is hosting Homes for the Homeless charity bike ride 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the shelter, 706 N. Toombs St.

Kickstands are up at 4:30 p.m.

Straughter is hoping to gather more than 50 bikers to raise money for the center’s utilities and supplies. There’s a $10 donation for the hour-long ride.

Food will be provided, and there will be raffles.

Straughter said the ladies of the shelter are excited and will be able to ride with bikers.

She would like the event to raise a realization that “homelessness is real,” she said.

“I want awareness,” Straughter said. “I want the community to be aware this is really going on here.”

She said she plans to expand the Meeting Place II into local rural areas as there’s a need for more space at the women’s shelter. At the moment, it can house four people.

“Four people is good, but there are hundreds of people that are still out there,” Straughter said.

She foresees having a full-service facility for the future of the shelter.

“I want that facility to be where women can have everything that they need,” she said.

The Meeting Place II continuously accepts sponsors.

Vendors offering resources such as health care and counseling services are being accepted until Sept. 13 for the charity bike ride.

Call (229) 262-2308, or visit themeetingplace2inc.org, for more information. 

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