The church donations were part of a total of $334,878.96 donated after Wharton and former congressman Harold Ford Jr. announced a "Community Services Disaster Relief Fund" on Feb. 13 to assist people whose property was destroyed or who are out of work because their workplace was shut down.
Easthaven members collectively gasped when Wharton said the total includes $798 from inmates in the countywide prison system.
Afterward, the mayor said politicians often thank churches for their support during and after elections, but seldom thank them for their charity. "The churches are doing more and more, particularly as we face cutbacks in funding," he said. Among those cutbacks are grants to outside agencies. "That's where a lot of the charity (on the part of the county) takes place."
Newly installed Easthaven elder Al Parker said Wharton's personal thank-you to his and other churches was a nice gesture: "I think it shows he's in contact with the people of Shelby County."
-- Michael Lollar: 529-2793
As of April 16, 192 households had received assistance from the Community Services Disaster Relief Fund.
Assistance is available for rent and mortgage payments, utility assistance, minor home repairs, food assistance and special needs.
For more information, call 545-4311.