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Chick-fil-A, MUST team to prepare meals for children

Tyler Hediger, left, of Chick-fil-A, gets some assistance from the company mascot as he loads sack lunches to be delivered to Cobb children as part of the MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program. About 5,000 children received a chicken sandwich along with the rest of their meal. Staff/Jeff Stanton


Chick-fil-A owners worked together to provide 5,900 lunches Wednesday for children across seven counties who receive free and reduced lunches at school.

Sixty Chick-fil-A locations surrounding Atlanta donated the food and time to make thousands of lunches that were then sorted and delivered by MUST Ministries.

Chris Fields, senior vice president of programs and administration at MUST Ministries, said the summer lunch program has been around for 19 years. Groups of volunteers meet at churches in Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Forsyth, Gwinnett, north Fulton, Paulding and Pickens counties five days a week to make, pack and deliver lunches to nearly 6,000 children across eight counties for 10 weeks during the summer.

“Hunger doesn’t stop when school lets out,” Fields said. “This program makes sure that we know there are 6,000 kids who are going to have a meal on the table every day.”

Kaye Cagle, a spokeswoman for MUST Ministries, said businesses, families and senior assisted living homes frequently donate some meals and food to the program through local churches. This is the first time a business has agreed to donate meals to feed every child for a day as Chick-fil-A did Wednesday, she said.

“I think the most important part of the story is how many children are being fed every day,” Cagle said. “It’s a monumental undertaking.”

Chris Darley, who owns the East Lake Chick-fil-A on Roswell Road, said his restaurant donated 380 meals for volunteers at the First Presbyterian Church off Church Street near the Square to deliver on its three routes. Darley said each meal includes a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, chips and a cookie.

Darley said he thinks it is important for his business to support and serve the community it’s in, so he was excited to work with 60 other Chick-fil-A franchise owners to deliver the lunches.

“(The owners) wanted to do something together that we couldn’t do on our own,” Darley said.

Martie Moore, the coordinator for the lunch program at First Presbyterian Church, said every week day of the summer 13 volunteers gather at the church to make sandwiches for the children.

“The best thing has been getting to know all the volunteers and the volunteers getting to know each other,” Moore said. “It just kind of builds the community in our church and we also have volunteers from other churches.”

This is the seventh week of the 10-week program, and Fields said 158,000 meals have been delivered so far this summer in MUST’s coverage area. By the end of the program, Fields said 250,000 lunches will have been delivered across the area, and 100,000 will be delivered in Cobb.

Moore, who teaches art classes at Burruss Elementary School, said she enjoys seeing the children over the summer.

“They come in and sometimes they’re all dirty from playing outside all morning, and they’re so cute, and they say ‘thank you,’” Moore said. “This way, you don’t worry so much about them.”

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Hilary Butschek, July 17, 2014. Read the original article here.

Community & Southern Bank Donates Office Supplies to Must Ministries

Must Ministries

Community & Southern Bank (CSB) gives back to the Metro Atlanta community by donating excess office equipment and administrative supplies to a local charity, Must Ministries (MUST). CSB’s donation of chairs, office supplies, printers, desks, filing cabinets and other office items will provide Must Ministries with some of the necessary equipment to meet its administrative duties, as well as furthering its community initiatives.

“MUST is so grateful for corporate citizens who give back to their communities. CSB is a prime example of a community partner, donating numerous items that will help us in so many ways,” said President and CEO Dr. Ike Reighard. “A donation like this helps MUST by allowing us to better serve others.  Additionally, this donation saves our ministry money so we can in turn allocate more funds where it’s needed most. We are humbled and blessed by their generosity.”

Must Ministries, a nonprofit organization, has served the Marietta, Smyrna and Cherokee county communities for over 40 years by providing food, assisting with employment opportunities and housing programs. As a volunteer-driven organization, Must Ministries strives to address the basic needs of individuals, families and children.

“CSB recognizes and values the positive work that Must Ministries has done and continues to do within our community,” said Mark Abernathy, CSB President. “Through such donations, our desire is to support and empower philanthropies that share our commitment to community.”


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MUST Ministries, United Way of Greater Atlanta collaborate to help Cobb veteran families



A new partnership in Cobb County is “an important step in providing supportive services to veteran families in need,” according to Chris Fields, Senior Vice President of MUST Ministries. In an innovative partnership, MUST and United Way of Greater Atlanta are joining forces to help those veterans living in or transitioning to permanent housing.

United Way case workers will be located in MUST facilities to implement the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. The initiative willconnect eligible veteran families to outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits, which may include healthcare, legal, childcare, transportation, housing counseling and other supportive services.

“We are committed to serving veterans in Cobb County by supplying access to the services they need.” Fields explained. “Serving veterans has long been a commitment of MUST Ministries and we are excited to partner with United Way to extend that commitment. What an honor to serve those who have served our country so faithfully.”

According to the national census, an estimated 47,000 Cobb residents are veterans. Many of these veterans are struggling financially or are homeless. The census also shows 13.6% of people in Cobb County live below the poverty line, including hundreds of veterans. Almost half of those veterans are estimated to have a disability.

On a daily basis, MUST provides meals in the Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen, employment services, Supportive Housing, clothing, access to healthcare and other key components to sustain daily living.  Through this partnership, additional resources will be available to those who have served our country, but are now searching for stability.

For more information, call MUST Ministries at 770-427-9862.


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MUST Ministries opens thrift store to support services: MUST Marketplace launches Jan. 16


An exciting new approach to becoming more sustainable is beginning this month at MUST Ministries, according to Dr. Ike Reighard, President and CEO. After months of research and strategic planning, MUST Ministries is opening a 4,600-sq.-ft. thrift store to help fund the organizations commitment to helping area residents move from poverty to stability.

“After analyzing many resources, it became abundantly clear that the organization has generous in-kind donors who bring more than enough clothing, housewares, furniture,  art work, small appliances, baby items and more to the Donation Center.  Allocating the excess items to a thrift shop concept allows MUST to continue giving clothing to clients, and to sell the “extra” to gain funds for our important mission,” Reighard announced.

“Clients will now have the option to purchase items in addition to the free vouchers they receive, giving them a feeling of parity and not just charity. Financial donors and other donors bringing items to the Donation Center were surveyed and overwhelmingly supported MUST’s need to acquire a new income stream and favored the thrift store concept.,” he explained.

“This concept is very exciting on many levels. We give clients the dignity of shopping in a nice store, we give donors an opportunity to make a difference by what they give to the store, we invite the public in to shop and see the great work we’re doing here and we help sustain our programs with the proceeds.”

The large store, open Tuesday – Saturday, 10-6, is housed in remodeled space at the current Program Services location at 1407 Cobb Parkway North location to prevent additional expense for rent. Reighard explained that MUST has been blessed with high quality donations that will help make this approach successful.

“We receive wonderful donations that will continue to benefit our clients and those items sold will also benefit our clients. We hope our supporters will donate high-end items like designer clothes, fashionable jewelry, desirable electronics and quality furniture to further help the store.” MUST Marketplace donations can be taken to the MUST Donation Center at 55 Chastain Road, Suite 110, Kennesaw, Tuesday-Saturday, 9-5.


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Gobble Jog Race Goes for World Record, Benefits MUST Ministries


When a small group of volunteers planned the first Gobble Jog in 2003, they had no idea how quickly the event would grow into one of the best attended and most beloved holiday festivities in the South. The 1,400 original runners helped raise $29,000 that year and the Gobble Jog was literally “off and running” with a 10K, 5K, 1K and Tot Trot.

Over the next 10 years, the Gobble Jog became a tradition for thousands of people who get together with their friends and families to kick off their holiday. Today, more than 11,000 runners and walkers pour into the historic Marietta Square on Thanksgiving morning for the fun and excitement of a great event for a great cause. The proceeds now exceed $425,000 and continue to benefit MUST Ministries, one of Georgia’s recognized servant leaders.

“This year, we are adding something different and exciting,” said Special Events Coordinator Cara Reeve.

“The Gobble Jog is one of a series of races being monitored by the Guinness Book of World Records that will determine the largest number of participants in a multivenue event.”

She explained that Thanksgiving races all over the country have banded together to take the world record currently held in Malaysia. The event has become a wonderful, street party atmosphere with costumes, “Gobble Dogs”, family teams, corporate teams, church groups, firefighters running in full gear and lively music, Reeve explained.

“Everyone loves kicking off the holiday season at MUST’s event, seeing their friends and neighbors, getting in some exercise and seeing the festivities.”

In addition, now there is a way to help MUST even more. Participants are asked to establish a personal fund raising page and help raise more money to help feed, house, clothe and train the 34,000 clients a year who come to MUST for help and hope. For more information or to register, go to


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Pack a sack lunch this summer for MUST Ministries


MUST Summer Sack Lunch program is looking for groups who would like to make lunches for children living in poverty in Cobb County. Mt. Bethel UMC provides the supplies and the facility set up–you provide the volunteers to make the lunches and deliver them to a nearby MUST drop off location!

Contact Patti Turner, for details.


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Donate books to Cobb County Schools and help MUST Ministries Summer Program


The Cobb County School District’s Library Media department has launched a book drive to support the summer lunch program conducted by MUST Ministries. Thousands of Cobb County children receive lunch from MUST Ministries during each summer weekday. In addition, the program promotes literacy by giving each child a book on Fridays. The CCSD book drive will help support MUST and promote participation in the summer reading programs underway at Cobb County public libraries.

Cobb residents may donate new or gently used books for grades K-12 at the MUST Ministries Cobb County office, these East Cobb Cobb County schools or offices (for a complete list of drop off points and school addresses visit


Lassiter High School, Thursday, 9 am – 3 pm

Bells Ferry Elementary School, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8 am – 4 pm

Daniell Middle School, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8 am – 4 pm


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Video of the Week: MUST Ministries

Sharing stories of triumph from MUST Ministries.

Food pantry faces shortages in Cobb

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:

Food Drive at Paper Mill Village – Donate Canned Goods through Wednesday


Paper Mill Grill servers Brittany Remole and Clifton Wofford gearing up for the Food Drive at Paper Mill Village.

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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