MUST Ministries has been a part of the greater Atlanta community for the past 40 years helping meet needs that MUST be met.
By ASHLEY GILLAM
MARIETTA, Ga. — “Hope is a must” has been the motto of MUST Ministries for the past 40 years. Throughout their eight campuses in eight different counties, they are serving over 32,000 people a year, with 65% of those individuals being children.
Kaye Cagle, director of marketing and public relations for MUST Ministries, said: “I work here because I came from corporate America and wanted to do something more meaningful.”
MUST Ministries strives to be more than just an organization; they want to change lives. Over the past 40 years MUST has been striving to make a difference in its community. While they’ve already made a huge impact, they want to do more.
Needs MUST be Met
Cagle explained that MUST currently has 72 beds, which they feel is not nearly enough for everything they want to do.
“In a 70-day period recently, we turned away 171 children from the shelter because we were full,” Cagle says. “That’s not acceptable.”
Despite their challenges they foresee big things happening in the future, Kaye laid out their plan.
“We are doing more outreach – like Summer Lunch that served 8,500 children every week this summer – and are housing more people. A major goal is to help more people get employment. Last year at our campus, we helped 585 people find a job and that put $9.3 million back into the local economy”
MUST has not only been able to help those in their community, but they are also giving back to the community as a whole.
Community is a MUST
MUST relies on their community to help them meet the needs of those going through hard times. Currently, MUST ministries has started preparing for the holiday season. They’ve been focusing on readying their three toy shops, gathering hats, scarves, gloves, fleece throw blankets, socks, underwear, and toys.
One of the major request they have is bikes. Many children wants a bike for Christmas, and MUST wants to help make that dream come true for hundreds of kids on Christmas morning.
Food is a MUST
MUST currently has 23 food pantries, including 20 pantries in Title 1 schools. This creates a high need for food donations. Many families rely on these food pantries to help put food on the table every night. Food is something MUST ministries needs throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.
Simple food items such as canned meat, peanut butter, and spaghetti sauce make a tremendous difference to families in need. Most of these items can be found in your pantries at home. Visit their website to find one of their locations near you. No act of service is too small whether you’re donating food, clothes, money, or time; MUST has proven over the years that a simple act of kindness can go a long way.
A Small Act of Kindness Can Change a Life
It was right after the first cold snap in 2012, shortly after Thanksgiving, when Donna Vickroy went in for another day of volunteering at MUST ministries.
MUST had received a new shipment of winter jackets that day. Amongst the pile of jackets, Vickroy spotted a brand new $95 Burlington jacket. She was surprised that someone would bring in a brand new jacket.
Donna Vickroy, volunteer for MUST. (Photo by Ashley Gillan)
Vickroy went to the front of the store, where they give clothes to those in need. A young man in his late 20s came into the store.
Donna remembered the man’s story vividly: “His son’s teacher had called and told him that his son wouldn’t be allowed to go out to recess unless he had a jacket.” The young man was in-between jobs and didn’t have money to buy his son a jacket.
They went around the the coat racks looking for a jacket in a size 5-6, but none were in sight.
“I suddenly remembered the Burlington coat in the back, and thought I’d just go check and see if it was the right size,” recalls Vickroy.
She picked up the coat and saw it was just the right size. She brought it out to the father, and he tearfully thanked her, saying he never thought he’d get such a nice coat for his son.