ALPHARETTA, Ga. — North metro faith organizations have assembled resources and partnerships over the past year to meet heightened demands for food, clothing and housing.
A bustling economy derailed this spring, leaving millions nationwide in the harrowing position of stretching money further than ever before.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows Georgia ranked eighth in the nation in unemployment in October at 4.5 percent. The national average was 6.7 percent last month, according to another BLS dataset.
With no cessation in sight, food security concerns are at the forefront of consciousness for the needy and those organizations committed to help.
Earlier this year, Alpharetta First Baptist Church provided thousands of dollars for families in immediate need within local schools. Meals and resources were donated to healthcare workers at North Fulton Hospital and Alpharetta Public Safety.
“As the weeks grew into months, we were able to partner with Fulton County schools to pack and distribute more than 900 boxes of food to more families in our area,” Pastor of Communication Myles Chatham said. “We consider it a joy to serve this community in this season.”
The Roswell Community Masjid took action to assist the area community in March as initial recommendations to stay at home occurred.
RCM’s Care Club stepped in to help vulnerable families needing food and assistance with errands. Helping the elderly and medically compromised stay at home was another focus. The club also provided meals to support the Roswell Fire Department.
Masks and sanitizers were donated to Fulton County School staff to support enhanced cleaning before meal service.
Faith-based partnerships have provided additional food assistance.
“RCM teamed up with other mosques and Muslim organizations to feed healthcare workers in hospitals across metro Atlanta,” Operations Manager Lubna Merchant said. The partnership provided food and meals to communities throughout metro Atlanta.
An interfaith collaboration with Roswell Presbyterian Church provided lunches to school children and the elderly on a weekly basis in Roswell neighborhoods.
First Redeemer Church, in Cumming, and “There’s Hope for the Hungry” have led an aggressive campaign to provide groceries to the vulnerable. To date 23,000 boxes of food, equivalent to 243 tons, have been donated throughout North Georgia.
The church’s “Operation Christmas Child” effort took on new urgency this year.
“Our church family assembled and shipped over 1,100 shoebox Christmas gifts to needy children throughout the world,” Senior Pastor Dr. Jeff Jackson said. “We also served as a central collection center for this effort and processed over 8,000 of these gifts.”
First Redeemer is replacing its annual in-person Christmas production with a televised, one-hour production that will air Dec. 23 and 24. It will air on WPCH at 10 p.m. on both nights.
Chabad of North Fulton has been active as a resource helping people with financial challenges such as rent and food.
“As a faith-based group a lot of our support has been focused on emotional and spiritual counseling for people affected by the stresses associated with the pandemic,” Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz said.