Sharing stories of triumph from MUST Ministries.
Requests for food are up and donations down at MUST Ministries, a nonprofit agency that works with low-income families in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
Spokesperson Kaye Cagle said the agency had a slow sumer for donations, and food pantries are extremely low. The agency helps more than 21,000 people a year with food.
For more information: www.mustministries.org
Paper Mill Village is hosting the Feed Cobb for the Holidays food drive with Must Ministries through Wednesday, November 23rd. Eight tenants at the shopping center have collection bins. The goal is to fill up 12 barrels by Thanksgiving with help from the East Cobb community, which totals 3,000 pounds of food. So grab a can of food, swing by Paper Mill Village and help make a difference in the community.
Items that are particularly needed: canned meat (tuna, beef, chicken, ham or salmon); boxed dinners; canned pastas and spaghetti sauce; fruit; canned beans; dry milk; chili; cereal; spaghetti sauce; oatmeal/grits; and jelly.
Collection bins are located at the following spots in Paper Mill Village:
Style Masters (Suite 410)
Allstate (Suite 430)
Straw Dog (Suite 140)
Simply Fresh (Suite 760)
Lovin’ Knit Studio (Suite 610)
Hot Dogs Cool Cats (Suite 730)
Paper Mill Grill (Suite 210)
Kids Zone (Suite 1100)
Paper Mill Village is located at 137 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta, GA 30068
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The Ninth Annual Gobble Jog benefiting MUST Ministries will be held on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in Marietta Square. The 10K begins at 8am, the 5K at 9:30am and the 1K at 9:15am. A Tot Trot for kids 5 & under begins at 10:30am.
The Gobble Jog is certified as a qualifier for seeding in the Peachtree Road Race and the US 10K Classic. THIS IS A RAIN OR SHINE EVENT!
Packet pick-up between 3-7 pm, November 23, at First United Methodist Church, 56 Whitlock Avenue, Marietta. Register at any Big Peach Running Company location or on-line at www.active.com. Same day registration for untimed runners only beginning at 7am.
For more information call 678-218-4521 or visit www.gobblejog.org.
Lane Scheiblauer is an avid cyclist and wondered how he could combine his love for bikes with helping others. After hearing a sermon at First Baptist Church of Marietta about how each person can help others, he had an idea.
Today, “Recycle that Bike” is an exciting ministry involving Lane and his friends fixing used and discarded bikes, then donating them to The Elizabeth Inn, MUST’s emergency shelter. There, people earn points toward a bike and when they have enough points, they receive the transportation that can help them get to work and run errands.
“It’s a meaningful project for me, but it’s also fun to drive down the highway, see one of the bikes I fixed and know it’s helping someone,” he said. The bikes, which can now be loaded on a CCT bus for longer distance travel, are helping many find independence.
If you have a bike to donate or would like to help, go to www.recyclethatbike.org for details.
MUST Ministries needs help filling bare food shelves at its Donation Center, where demand is up 35 percent and donations are way down.
Donation barrels will remain in the foyer in front of the Parish Hall at the Episcopal Church of St. Peter & St. Paul until August 14, 2011.
Items currently in short supply: spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, flour, baking mixes, canned pasta, soup, cereal, macaroni and cheese, jelly, dry beans, rice, canned beans, canned vegetables (except green beans) and canned meat.
The Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is located at 1795 Johnson Ferry Road in East Cobb.
Nonprofit resource centers MUST Ministries and The Center for Family Resources experience summer drops in their food and financial donations annually, but this year the shelves emptied even sooner than expected.
According to interim CEO Thomas E. Riddle, MUST Ministries has seen a 35 percent increase of people in need over this time last year. With this increase in demand coinciding with a decrease in donations, MUST is hard-pressed to help their clients.
Riddle partially attributes the shortages to summer vacation: “Families have children who are eating a couple more meals a day than they do when they’re at school, because they have free and reduced lunches there. We have a greater demand in the summer, but for a variety of reasons, the collections are slower.”
The slow economy is aggravating the shortage. According to Annette Lee, the director of the MUST’s donation center, her inventory is the lowest it has ever been in her 4 years there. More than half of the inventory sheet she had on hand was marked with dashes, meaning there were no items in that category on the shelves.
“I know, based on history, how much I need to have in here,” Lee said. “It’s just gone out the door quicker than I can get it in.”
MUST Ministries typically distributes 1 tons of food, or 2,500 canned items, each day to families in need in Cobb and Cherokee counties, among their other programs, including clothing, housing, education, and financial assistance. They see 32,000 people a year, and in the summer they can serve more than 100 a day, Lee said.
Clients can come four times a year for food help, Lee said, and “they get a three-day supplement for all the individuals … The program is set up basically to get people from paycheck to paycheck.”
MUST tries to supply a well-rounded diet, but “when you only have macaroni and cheese and peanut butter, it’s kind of hard to do that,” Lee said.
Lee added that they “do experience a decline in financial donations as well. During the summer months, people are spending their extra money on vacations,” so monetary and food donations are encouraged.
She stressed that the people in need are “neighbors, not people in transit. There are folks that have been out of work for a long time, they are finding themselves without homes and not able to feed themselves. It’s a basic need they should be allowed. MUST operates on the Christian belief that we take care of others that are less fortunate than ourselves.”
Many churches and local organizations host MUST donation barrels, Riddle said, and “volunteers use our trucks, go to those sites, pick up the barrels and bring them here. We couldn’t operate the organization without the good volunteers.”
He says there are about 4,000 active volunteers on the roster, and even though hard times have hit, there has not been a drop in this number.
“We have folks who are looking for work who are volunteering with us as they conduct their search,” he added.
Mr. Riddle’s appeal to the community is “now is the time that our shelves are beginning to empty, and we need food. We really need the community to support us, so that we can deliver our 1.25 tons a day. We really don’t want to have to consider giving out less food.”
The Center for Family Resources is also hard-pressed to meet their rising summer demands. CFR generally provides food for about 2,336 households a year, along with offering financial payment, transportation, housing and education assistance.
Jerri Barr, CEO of the Center for Family Resources, says that since Jan 1, CFR has served more than 2,100 families in their food pantry. She says the total demand for all their services, which includes help with rent and utilities payments as well as food, rose 252 percent in the first quarter of the year.
As with MUST, CFR’s demand rises while donations fall. Barr said they can never keep up with the demand, though it is even harder in the summer. The children come home from school, but the amount of food stamps do not go up in the summer, and the extra mouths prove to be an additional burden that pushes a family over the edge, Barr said.
According to Barr, most of the families CFR helps are “low-income working poor that work a patchwork of part-time jobs” to make ends meet.
A family can come in four times a year for food help. Each family receives about $50 to $100 worth of groceries, depending on the size of the family, which will last them about three to five days.
If they do not receive any more food donations, they would have no food left to give out in less than two weeks, Barr said.
Ms. Barr states that food donations are “the most basic thing we can do to help a family get by. It frees up any other disposable income,” which can be used to solve other shortages in the household.
Families can get one-time help with big rental or utilities payments.
Barr says individuals are still giving, but because of the economy, they are giving less. Businesses are also not able to do their sponsorships or donate as much as usual. Any government support the organization receives is also going down, because of the economy, Barr said.
She said CFR is grateful to be located in Cobb, because “people in Cobb care about their fellow citizen and reach out to help.”
HOW TO HELP
* The items needed most include cereal and other breakfast items, canned meats, fruit, dry and canned milk, spaghetti sauce, dry and canned potatoes, box dinners, peanut butter, and jelly. Groceries are accepted at the Donation Center, 1210 B Kennestone Circle off Highway 41 in Marietta, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Donation barrels are located at 20 locations at local churches and organizations in the area.
To organize a food drive or volunteer, contact Annette Lee at (678) 581-8090 or email@example.com. For more information on where to find donation locations or to make a financial donation online, go to www.mustministries.org.
* The greatest demand in the CFR food pantry is for canned vegetables, pasta, rice, breakfast items, canned fruit, canned meat, and protein items like peanut butter. CEO Jerri Barr recommends for people who coupon to use their “buy one get one free” coupons, and bring the free item to the donation center as a simple way to donate. She also recommends that groups like offices, book clubs, neighborhood, and churches do food drives for the Center for Family Resources. Donations can be brought to the Center at 995 Roswell St. NE, Suite 100 in Marietta.
For more information or to make a financial donation, visit thecfr.org or call (770) 428-2601.
(Reprinted from the MDJ, June 30, 2011. Written by Margaret Landers)
MUST Ministries has appointed an interim CEO as the organization embarks on the process of identifying a replacement for its current chief executive. The Rev. John R. Moeller, Jr., president and CEO of MUST Ministries, has announced that he is joining Action Ministries, Inc., as CEO on June 14.
“We greatly appreciate John’s contributions to the growth and success of MUST, and while we are saddened to see him leave, we wish him all the best in his new endeavor. We are confident that Action Ministries will benefit from his leadership as MUST did,” said M. Andrew Riddle, Chairman of the Board. “We are very confident in the leadership that the organization’s three Vice Presidents will provide during the transition period, and are in the process of implementing our established succession plan.”
After more than 10 years of service, the leader said, “This was a truly difficult decision for me because I love MUST Ministries and this community. I am grateful to our remarkable staff, board, volunteers, community partners and donors for making MUST Ministries one of the most respected charities in Georgia. I know that I am leaving MUST in a position of strength with very capable leaders. There will be no disruptions.”
Moeller led MUST Ministries through a period of dramatic growth that included a successful capital campaign to build its new Marietta Day Services facility and ministry offices, an expansion of MUST’s services into several Northwest Georgia counties, and a significant expansion of services at the Elizabeth Inn, MUST’s sheltering program location. The Summer Lunch program is now in Cobb, Cherokee, North Fulton, Gwinnett, Douglas and Paulding counties, another major expansion. Under Moeller’s leadership, the organization was able to grow and now serves more than 32,000 clients every year.
“As an organization, MUST is stronger now than it has ever been, and we look forward to a careful search for the right person to lead MUST into what we know is a very bright future. The search will begin immediately and we hope to find someone with many of John Moeller’s outstanding qualities,” Riddle continued. “Our strong internal leadership will conduct a very thorough search to find the right candidate who has not only the necessary skills and vision for the future, but also the heart for what we do. We require the same commitment to this community that John has had and that is shared by everyone involved with MUST.”
MUST Ministries, Inc., appointed its Vice President of Administration, Thomas E. Riddle as Interim CEO until a permanent replacement for Moeller is appointed by the Board.
The “Golf for His Glory” tournament at Indian Hills Country Club in East Cobb is an annual event sponsored by Mt. Zion UMC and benefiting MUST Ministries.
Championship pro golfer Larry Nelson will be the special guest speaker at the May 9 event. Participants will enjoy breakfast with Nelson, a three time championship golfer from Marietta, before teeing off. Platinum, Silver and Gold sponsored teams will also have an opportunity to meet Nelson and have a team photo taken with him prior to the breakfast.
Last year, MUST Ministries helped 32,000 persons living below the poverty line in Cobb and Cherokee counties. For more information on the May 9th “Golf for His Glory” event, call Dan Farr at 770-993-9898, or access www.mtzionumc.org/golf.