Action Ministries enables individuals to make a difference
It was a long time ago that I saw my first television special on World Hunger. The scenes that were presented and the accompanying facts of hunger among the world’s population were overwhelming. I was stirred by the enormous need but felt helpless to make a difference.
I have not always had everything I needed or as much as I wanted but I have never experienced starvation. I have never known anyone to die from lack of food or malnutrition. It was depressing to watch the hour long documentary that graphically presented a tragedy for which there seemed to be no answer.
Then at the end, as the credits rolled, the message on the screen said: “For $12 you can feed a family of four.” I could not feed all the hungry people in the world. I did not have the resources to address the big picture of world hunger. But I could afford $12. I could feed a family of four.
Suddenly I felt empowered. There was hope. Surely there were thousands of people like me that could spend $12 to provide food for starving people. If all of us did that, the problem (or at least a big part of it) could be solved. Some things that cannot be accomplished by any one person can be done when we join together and each one does their part. That is the strength of the United Methodist Connection. We are bound to each other in love and service and collectively we can make a real difference.
Action Ministries, Inc is one of the leading mission organizations that depends on North Georgia United Methodists to meet the needs of people all across our region. Founded in 1963, this faith-based organization serves the hunger, housing and education needs of people living in communities throughout Georgia.
Through programs located in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville and Rome, it works with individuals to transform their lives and partners with organizations to enable them to play a more vital role in their local communities.
I remember the special Annual Conference Offering just a few years ago that provided the initial funding for Action Ministries Transitional Housing. We pooled our resources and combined our efforts and today there are transitional houses in every district of our conference. This program works to address housing needs by placing families with children in a suitable home environment. The case management and supportive services help people move from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
The programs of Action Ministries helps thousands of people. In 2010:
•Every day 276 meals were served and over 2,276 lbs of food were distributed
•More than 300 children received school supplies and new clothes;
•More than 270 children received after-school tutoring and life skills training;
•More than 50 families, including over 100 children that were homeless, received transitional housing and counseling to start a new life
•Thousands of volunteers participated in Action Ministries programs – from sorting food to repairing bikes to building beds.
“These are challenging times for people in need in Georgia,” said the Rev. John R. Moeller, Jr., president and CEO of Action Ministries. “Jobs are still scarce plus many organizations like ours have fewer resources so they are either shutting down or reducing the number of people they serve. Each year the number of people assisted by Action Ministries in cities across Georgia increases dramatically. It is only through the support of people in our local communities that we are able to meet this growing need.”
On Nov. 13, a special offering was taken as part of “Action Ministries Sunday” in the more than 900 churches of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
“For many years United Methodists in Georgia have supported Action Ministries because it enables people to engage in ministry with those in need, which Methodist founder John Wesley considered so important,” said Bishop B. Michael Watson. “Supporters of Action Ministries realize that they are making a difference right here at home while increasing their closeness to God.”
The need is too great for any one of us but by supporting Action Ministries each one of us can make a difference.
Rev. Jamie Jenkins is Executive Assistant to the Bishop. To contact him, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.