In Atlanta, 3.2 inches of a pellet-like sleet lay on the ground.

With most government offices, businesses and schools shut, there were only tentative efforts at digging out.

Temperatures were expected to climb into the 40s Saturday. And most of Atlanta seemed to favor the time-honored southern method of waiting for the thaw.

But at Paschal's Hotel and Restaurant on the mostly black southwest side, President James Paschal hired several jobless men to clear ice from sidewalks around his business, even though he employs enough maintenance workers to do the job.

"In this area, there's always the need, the guy who comes in and who's hungry, and we take care of him," Paschal said. "We don't really want the word to get around, but we do, and there's been more need in the past few days with this cold weather."

Salaam Muhammad, 37, was one of the men Paschal gave $20 for a couple of hours' work, plus food. "I need this," Muhammad said. "I haven't been able to get jobs since I got robbed a few weeks ago and my jaw was broken. Besides my eating here, the money means my wife will eat, too."