MUST Ministries adapts during pandemic

The Home Depot volunteer team and others prepare to hand out hundreds of MUST Summer Lunch meals to children in South Cobb.
The Home Depot volunteer team and others prepare to hand out hundreds of MUST Summer Lunch meals to children in South Cobb. Courtesy of MUST Ministries

Nonprofit sees greater need as donations taper off.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect our economy and way of life, many people are totally or partially unemployed, which can make caring for a family even harder than usual. Organizations like MUST Ministries are here to help.

“Our services have all dramatically changed as a result of the pandemic,” said Kaye Cagle, vice president of marketing and public relations at MUST. “Client choice pantries have turned into curbside grocery box distribution; daily summer lunch deliveries have converted to weekly distributions of five-day meal kits with everything prepackaged; people hoping to get into the shelter must quarantine in hotels first (at our expense); job coaching is now virtual with a jobs hotline at 470-313-1960.”

Since March 16 the MUST Food Rapid Response has provided 886,249 pounds of food to 83,111 people, some of whom have been served monthly. In contrast, last year MUST reached a total of 33,500 people across food, housing, shelter and job coaching programs. This year, the summer lunch program has served 227,924 meals to at-risk children since June 1.

Volunteers and teachers from Blackwell and Bells Ferry Elementary hand out MUST Summer Lunch kits.
Volunteers and teachers from Blackwell and Bells Ferry Elementary hand out MUST Summer Lunch kits.

“The needs are overwhelming, but the reward is knowing that people can feed their children or have a place to live or even find a job in the midst of such turmoil,” said Cagle.

As much as MUST is able to give, some of the needs in our community are still going unmet.

“Our community has been exceedingly generous, but it’s difficult to keep up with the demand,” said Cagle. “While donations and food were given generously at first, ‘giving fatigue’ has set in for many nonprofits and the urgency to help has decreased while the need has increased.”

Who’s helping?

MUST Ministries

Services: MUST Ministries provides food, housing, emergency shelter, a healthcare clinic, job coaching and other services for people in poverty.

How to help: MUST’s greatest needs are financial donations and food donations. All needs are posted at mustministries.org. A list of pantry needs can be found at dynamix-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/mustministriesorg/mustministriesorg_852918753.pdf

How to get help: Visit mustministries.org/get-help to find resources in your area.

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.