Now directed by My Brother's Keeper, a Christian nonprofit organization, the many resources and missions of Metro Community Assistance are being strengthened under new management.
Previous directors were unable to continue their duties at which time Heath Goodman assumed the role of volunteer executive director, balancing work with the reorganization of Metro Community Assistance.
"I believe all of these missions and all these goals we have here at Metro Community Assistance and with My Brother's Keeper are good and noble causes and we can get it going again. We just need to find the right people that can come on board and do the kind of things that we need to do," Goodman said. "We've had phenomenal success at pulling in a good volunteer base so things are really looking good. A lot of the programs are coming back and things that we needed to get this out of the contingency mode that we've had it in. So it's coming along real good."
Through the donation of used goods, a thrift store is operated to generate revenue, which funds the missions and outreaches of the organization. A largely popular service is the food pantry, which gives out food each Tuesday and anytime it is available for those in need.
Danita Gates, a regular beneficiary of the food bank, gave of her time Tuesday to help with the dispersal of food because of the ministry she saw taking place with Goodman's help.
"I've shopped at all of [the food banks] but he is the reason I come here," Gates said, adding that Goodman's faith is evident in the way he treats others inspiring her to help out. "They should be able to see the light in you. His light shines all over him. He is a true blessing to this community."
Food purchased from the Atlanta Community Food Bank is handed out each week to individuals and families. Goodman estimated about 100 people receive food for families of all sizes, feeding about 400 people. Efforts to expand this mission are evolving as they are with other services within the organization.
"Our food pantry needs to be stocked better than it has been. It's kind of been scanty to be honest with you. We give out food every week but there's been weeks when we didn't have anything to give out. But we're trying to build on that and it's coming along," Goodman said. "We want to expand that because there's much more need, especially in Bartow County, in this depressed economy."
Another area of service offered by My Brother's Keeper and Metro Community Assistance that looks to expand is job and educational assistance. Through a partnership with technical schools, scholarships are offered for certified nursing assistant programs. Dress for Success is a service providing clothing for job interviews and partnerships with staffing agencies can help guests get those interviews.
All services are open to the public and free to those in need. "We're just here to help people and we don't try to question their motives. Some people say ..., 'You've got to screen people so they don't just take advantage of you,'" Goodman said. "It's hard for us to know who is abusing the system, but we don't want to say no to anybody who is truly in need. So it's better to air on the side of mercy than it is to make some sort of judgment against somebody."
GiGi Barnette began volunteering for the organization under the former directors and continues to serve with Goodman. She works both ends of the spectrum in the thrift store and during food dispersal. Her reasons for volunteering lead back to her faith and serving others.
"I just want to do work for the Lord," Barnette said. "What we make in the front goes out the back in food. ... It's all about bringing people to the Lord."
With no paid staff, My Brother's Keeper takes monetary donations and new or used goods to fund their operations. Saturday, the organization will host The MBK Shindig featuring barbecue and live gospel music to introduce themselves to the community. There will be no charge but donations will be accepted. The event will last from 2:45 to 5:45 p.m. at the organization's headquarters, 611-D Grassdale Road.
Regular hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The food bank distributes a new truck of food Tuesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 678-719-1093.
If You Go
What: The MBK Shindig
When: Saturday, July 31, 2:45 to 5:45 p.m.
Where: My Brother's Keeper, 611 D Grassdale Road
More Info: Call 678-719-1093