Columbus couple starts support group in response to economic slump

Angela and Victor Smith are on the front lines of hope and despair.

She's a secretary at their Phenix City church. He's a music minister there, as well as a job counselor at the Georgia Labor Department office in Columbus.

Misery has hit home for the couple, who have seen members of North Phenix Baptist Church fall on hard times during what is being called the most severe recession since the Great Depression.

"We have one single mom who works three jobs just to make ends meet, and there was a time when she was almost totally unemployed. It was devastating for her," said Angela Smith.

Life for those Victor Smith encounters daily at the Labor Department office on Veterans Parkway is just as precarious. Layoffs have seemingly become routine.

"A lot of folks just don't know where to start," Victor Smith said. "When you’re in the middle of the fire or the box or whatever, you can't see out. And you need somebody around to help you see on the other side, and see what the opportunities are and how to get prepared for them."

That's why the Smiths have decided to begin a support group that meets two Sundays a month at their church, calling it "Job Aid."

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