It may surprise people to find that Action Ministries, nestled in a corner building on Lumpkin Street, is responsible for leading many people out of poverty. Solomon Smothers, the program bshinholseristrator at Action Ministries, says that they try to accomplish this through “hunger, housing, and education solutions.” In order to meet the clients’ needs, Action Ministries provides meals to the people of Athens 7 days a week, 364 days a year through a program called Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen. This program is one of the largest offered by Action Ministries. Solomon and the rest of the staff share these meals with the participants. In an interview, he explained why. “Something very special happens when you share a meal with someone. That special bond gets multiplied when you consistently share a meal with someone. We believe that one of our greatest gifts to this community (and one of the greatest gifts the community gives us) is to eat with people…with anyone…and form real, authentic bonds.” After speaking with Solomon, I became very aware of the passion he feels for the people he works with and his desire to improve their lives through Action Ministries.
Action Ministries also offers free, daily GED classes to help clients further their education. I have become familiar with this work through tutoring there for the past two weeks. As someone who believes education is absolutely vital to leading a better life, volunteering here has helped me to see how hard other people work to make adult education possible. They do this by providing tutors three days a week who work closely with students as well as workbooks and resources that allow them to prepare for the GED exam. In just the past two weeks, I have seen how this program really changes lives and how eager the students are to learn.
Along with GED classes, Action Ministries offers their clients money management and substance abuse classes taught by experts in the community on a voluntary basis. The program also provides a library and computer lab as a resource for completing job applications and other online forms.
Many of these programs can be summed up by the term “wrap around” services, or complementary services specially tailored to those in poverty that help them exit the poverty cycle. It’s a characteristic of other low-income programs, like Medicaid, that provide resources others might take for granted.
Because of Action Ministries’ non-profit status they rely almost completely on community volunteers and donations. Most of the programs, like the GED classes, require no money to help, only a willingness to change peoples’ lives. Thanks to Solomon and the other great volunteers and donors at Action Ministries, those in poverty are offered fellowship by people that truly care about their condition in an effort to alleviate the poverty felt by many in Athens.
Action Ministries also serves other parts of the state including locations in Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville, and Rome. You can find out more about how you can help Action Ministries by checking out their website and Facebook page.
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