New business lends a hand through Bartow's Angels
by Matt Shinall
Jul 22, 2012 | 2270 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Amber Blevins founded Bartow's Angels, she planned to help a single family at Christmas, instead she has amassed hundreds of online followers, organized an overwhelming amount of donations and recently she found a local service provider willing to help someone through a tough time.

While Bartow County suffered through record-setting heat in late June, one family unable to repair a broken air conditioner contacted Blevins for help. With temperatures surpassing 100 degrees in their home, Blevins insisted they stay with her and her family while she looked into having their system repaired.

"We had a family that had four small boys and they didn't have air so they contacted Bartow's Angels. And I had called different heating and air companies to see if anyone could do a pro bono thing because temperatures reached 104 inside their home," Blevins said, recalling that she contacted several businesses who were unable to do the repair at no cost. "Then I called Norm Griffin with Peach [HVAC] and he immediately said, 'What's their address?' And I gave him their address. Within an hour, he was out there and within a four-hour period, he had their air completely fixed, replaced the part and everything -- and the only thing he said is, 'Have a blessed day.'"

For Griffin, there was never a question of whether or not to help -- he attributes his involvement to being "in the right place at the right time." His company, Peach HVAC, was only a couple weeks old when they got the call and was in between appointments when the request came through.

"It was about 102 [degrees], I think, that day. We had maybe an hour, an hour and a half before our next call so I said, 'Sure, we'll go take a look at it,'" Griffin said. "It took about three or four hours to get them up and running. Essentially, that was it, we had never met her before, didn't know anything about her, she just called and explained the fact that the children were hurting and the family was short on cash.

"We're a young company, but my heart goes out to the kids. I'm a father of six myself."

Bartow's Angels was founded and is organized on Facebook, under the name of Bartow's Angels 2 taking up the mantle from an earlier organization. The project has grown to care for a variety of needs from hundreds of residents seeking help, including victims of house fires. Since December, Blevins has been accepting donations of toys, clothing, food and furniture, which now fill her garage.

"We started with one family in December, just a friend of mine that needed some help with Christmas and by Dec. 25, we ended up being able to help 47 families have Christmas this year. We were going to shut it down after Christmas, but then it just sort of blew up into an awesome thing," Blevins said. "We don't really keep a number, but I would say since December, we have helped around 200 families."

To donate or seek help, search for Bartow's Angels 2 on www.facebook.com or call Blevins at 678-323-5929.