Georgia Avenue Community Ministry
November 30, 2010
Georgia Avenue Community Ministry is an amazing place where people in need are nourished with food and a supportive community that helps them grow. The first time I went to a food coop meeting I was moved by the spirit of faith in not only God, but also in each other. I was also moved by the total acceptance of each person, regardless of whether a person has any or no religious affiliation.
People who might otherwise be hopeless about where there next meal might come from were working to fill boxes with food from the food bank, not just for themselves but for others as well. This was a group of people committed to lifting each other up.
The food cooperative program run by GACM is lead by Pastor Hale, Brian R. and Ella, a food cooperative member. They are building and expanding the reach of the food cooperative networks. Each person who receives food is obligated to help in the distribution process. Food coop members do work that supports integrity, accountability, and community leadership as they distribute the food during food cooperative meetings. They give of themselves and by doing so become vested and empowered in the process. This is what makes GACM different from a food bank or a soup kitchen. Those benefited by the food are participating in the service of themselves and others.
The work is earnest and it is not easy. But done together, each person leaves with the support and food he or she needs. The result is that people in the community are growing in skills that can translate to employment. GACM is healing communities that are undernourished through its food cooperatives. I wish that everyone would go to one of the food cooperative meetings, because you cannot help but be inspired by what is happening there.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I have served as a board member side by side with business leaders and community leaders who are benefited by the food cooperative program. The cooperation and leadership that I see at the core of GACM's success continues to make me passionate about its work even though I have already moved out of state. It is an organization whose work seems destined for national outreach.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I would develop more relationships with foundations to provide more opportunities to them to invest in a solidly run nonprofit. I would also request funding for more leadership development and succession planning within the organization. I would also find a new location in the Grant Park community to house the operations.
Board Member & I have led a leadership training workshop on conflict resolution for the community leaders responsible for the food distribution process.