FBC Decatur Assistance Ministry
For Mai Cavalli, Eddie Campbell, and Shelia Skinner, Tuesday afternoons are spent at FBC Decatur as volunteers for the Assistance Ministry, a place where individuals from the local community come for various types of assistance. While some people simply need help finding a meal, others are looking for help finding employment, housing, or even transportation assistance so they can get to work.
But this trio’s work goes beyond those few hours on Tuesday afternoons.
When they’re not busy directly helping those in need, these volunteers continue working to help people look for suitable housing, obtain furniture from the Atlanta Furniture Bank, gather donated essential items from generous church members, connect people with temporary employment agencies, and navigate the red tape-ridden system of government assistance for housing and other needs. This work of theirs through the assistance ministry changes lives.
Take Dianne’s story for instance.* Dianne was a former foster child who had experienced multiple traumatic events in her life. She lost one son to an accident in 2005, another to cancer in 2011, and then she was estranged from most of those she called family soon afterward. At 82 years old, with a small fixed income of SSI benefits, Dianne could not manage rent in the Atlanta area no matter how hard she tried. She became homeless.
After a month of living in the car she was renting, Dianne nally made her way into the “Welcome All” class at FBC Decatur. Upon hearing her story, the class immediately took action, taking up donations and using benevolence funds to put her up in an extended-stay hotel. She stayed there for a few months, contributing to the cost when she was able and receiving help from the Assistance Ministry for the rest.
Meanwhile, the Assistance Ministry team began helping Dianne find suitable Section-8 housing through the housing authority. Her voucher for Section-8 housing was approved in March, but that was only the beginning of the process. Once a person is approved for a voucher, they must take on the task of finding a housing complex that will actually accept the voucher.
With the dense population in the Atlanta area, available Section-8 housing is very rare, but Dianne was persistent, and in June she found a complex that would accept her voucher! e complex was not only suitable for seniors, but also had transportation options that would help her get to the grocery store and then to the clinic for her healthcare needs. The Assistance Ministry referred her to the Atlanta Furniture Bank, where she obtained basic items to furnish her new home. The “Welcome All” class embraced her and gathered donations of other essential items she would need for her home.
Dianne still has to pay a portion of her rent, but thanks to our Assistance Ministry, the nancial burden of rent has been greatly reduced and she is no longer homeless.
This is what it looks like for the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to those in our community!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Assistance Ministry at FBC Decatur and how you might contribute, please contact Mai Cavalli.
* the name has been changed for privacy purposes