Community Assistance Center rises to meet growing need in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody

Community Assistance Center works to prevent homelessness, alleviate hunger and promote self-sufficiency. One of its services includes a food pantry, which is supported by community volunteers. Courtesy of Community Assistance Center
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Community Assistance Center works to prevent homelessness, alleviate hunger and promote self-sufficiency. One of its services includes a food pantry, which is supported by community volunteers. Courtesy of Community Assistance Center

Credit: CAC

Credit: CAC

Community Assistance Center formed in 1987 on the campus of Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, and since then it’s grown from a small group helping 200 families a year to a full organization offering comprehensive poverty prevention and mitigation services to 3,600 families each year.

“Families need to have hope that tomorrow is going to be better than today, and we think that helping people stay in their homes during a crisis, having food on the table every day and the option to learn new life and job skills provides people hope,” said Francis K. Horton, III, CEO of CAC.

CAC still works in support of its original mission of preventing homelessness, providing basic needs and promoting self-sufficiency to residents seeking assistance in the communities of Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, and when the coronavirus pandemic began to affect Atlanta communities in early 2020 CAC had to shift their services to best help its clients.

“Our neighbors in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody many times had to decide between paying rent or buying food,” said Horton. “As the pandemic went on we had higher income earners come for help as their savings were depleted. We saw people come for assistance who had never asked for help before.”

In 2020 CAC saw a 400% increase in requests for financial assistance. In 2019 the organization provided approximately $300,000 in rental and utility assistance, but since the pandemic began that number had grown to approximately $2.5 million.

CAC’s financial assistance programs shifted to remote interviews, the food pantry gave out prepacked bags of food and adult education shifted to online. The CAC thrift store which was closed for a short time, but reopened in summer of 2020.

“In the face of the pandemic CAC continued to provide families help to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads,” said Horton. “In response to the changing dynamics we are initiating a new Career Center to help clients go from assistance check to paycheck, empowering them to get beyond the crisis and stay there.”


Who’s helping?

Community Assistance Center

Services: CAC works to prevent homelessness, alleviate hunger and promote self-sufficiency.

Where supplies have gone: Sandy Springs and Dunwoody communities

Where to donate: Make financial donations online at www.ourcac.org. Food, clothing and home goods donations can be brought to 8607 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30350.

How to get help: Anyone in the CAC service area may request assistance at www.ourcac.org/request-assistance or call the Helpline at (770) 552-4015.

If you are involved in or know of an organization working to bring relief to the Atlanta community during the coronavirus pandemic OR you are with an organization with supplies that you don’t know where to donate, please email us at Shannon.n.Dominy@gmail.com.