The Money and the Myths

N e w s     S e c t i o n

Copyright 1997 The Pensacola News Journal. All rights reserved
Dad says church was no help

By Kimberly Blair
News Journal staff writer 

PENSACOLA - Rick Gaskins, 28, father of a toddler and a newborn, stands on the porch of a tiny, run-down house and shakes his fist at the red metal framework of Brownsville Assembly of God 's newest expansion: a $3 million family life center. 

Gaskins and a number of others living nearby are angry that the revival 's wealth is not benefitting the neighborhood needy. 

Gaskins has degenerative arthritis. His wife, Michelle, 24, has curvature of the spine. They don 't know from one day to the next whether they can feed the babies and buy diapers. 

They came to Pensacola from Michigan six months ago. Their car has died. Neither has been able to find work. They often go hungry. 

Gaskins, a Pentecostal, says he went over to the church three times to ask for help to buy baby formula and diapers. Each time he was turned away, he says. 

Gaskins said he talked to church treasurer R.L. Berry, and Berry said: "We only help our church members." 

Berry would not accept News Journal phone calls. Business administrator Rose Compton spoke on his behalf. She said Berry does not remember Gaskins ' request. 

Compton told the News Journal: "A lot of this stuff comes up. Every day people are coming up here for groceries." 

She said she heard that people in the community were taking the groceries and selling them for drugs. 

"You can pretty much figure out who is legitimate," she said. "It is a real hard place to be because there is so much need. So many scenarios. So many children."

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All content © 1997 The Pensacola News Journal, a Gannett company.