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Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Needful Thing and CDM GLOBAL MISSIONS’ IN-PERSON OUTREACH

 




Creflo Dollar Ministries (CDM) has partnered with organizations around the globe to be the hands and feet of Jesus in communities where lack exists. We do this work through the Creflo Dollar Global Missions (CDGM) department led by Pastors Archie and Melissa Collins, and under the leadership of Pastor Ken Terry, who is responsible for all outreach activities. (Continued below.....)

CDGM has committed to changing the world, one person at a time. In metro Atlanta alone this year, we have been able to meet needs of the homeless at Renaissance Park, as well as those residing in the Atlanta Children’s Shelter and Trinity Community Ministry (a shelter for men). The COVID-19 pandemic impacted our ability to do any face-to-face outreach for over a year. Many shelters and facilities in the community did not allow groups to physically enter their buildings to directly provide resources and outreach. We had to donate items to the organizations so that they could redistribute them to people in need. However, once COVID restrictions began to lift, our team of volunteers was able to do in-person outreach.


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First In-Person Outreach Since COVID

We recently caught up with Tiffany Johnson, a CDGM volunteer, to get a glimpse of their first in-person outreach activity since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Tiffany joined CDGM in mid-2020, and, along with Mari Sawyer and Jerome Curry, is part of the planning group for local outreaches. They help manage the logistics of the local outreach events, such as the Back 2 SchoolThanksgiving Feeding Families, and the Christmas Giveaway, as well as smaller events. Tiffany was tasked by Mari Sawyer with heading up the local homeless outreach this year and took on the task with zeal. She is passionate about the face-to-face interaction; her concern was the ministry of a human to a human. The Global Missions team felt there was something that we, as World Changers, needed to reactivate coming out of COVID, and that was the human to human contact.


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Tiffany began by visiting the warehouse at the CDM College Park campus to see what inventory we had on hand. She saw that, though CDM has been conducting weekly outreach through drive-thru food giveaways, a lot of non-food items hadn’t moved during the year. Creflo Dollar Ministries had a surplus, and Tiffany’s heart was to get the supplies out there to the folks who need them. She contacted multiple metro Atlanta organizations in person or by phone. Some are not allowing people to come in and interact directly with their clients; others didn’t return her phone calls. In several of the organizations, their clients are mobile and there was no guarantee that there would be enough clients available to receive all of the supplies on whatever day the ministry was there. Despite these obstacles, CDGM found an organization that would allow them to come: the Salvation Army Red Shield Service.


About the Salvation Army Red Shield Service


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The Salvation Army Red Shield Service is a 320-bed facility. According to their website, the purpose of The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Red Shield Services Emergency and Transitional Housing Facility (Red Shield Shelter) is to provide strategic intervention, refuge, and safe lodging for homeless men, women, and families with children in crisis.


Tiffany appreciated that the facility takes a wholistic approach to being a resource for its clients. This shelter has a total life outreach in that they don’t just provide a bed. They have a teen lounge, a gym, a living space with bookshelves and a television, and a full playground. They’re aware that homelessness is not just a need for a roof, and they attempt to minister to the whole life of each person seeking temporary shelter there. In their cafeteria, they have an annual father-daughter dance where dads can create new memories with their daughters, and host an annual alumni recovery picnic. There are caseworkers onsite for emergency financial assistance and rapid re-housing for families and individuals who need assistance getting back into housing, as well as with the required rental down payments and rental fees.

Volunteers’ Preparations


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Of the items donated to Salvation Army Red Shield clients, a third came from the CDM warehouse, 50% came from CDGM volunteers (hygiene and snack items), and the remainder came from Tiffany’s community of Fayetteville, Georgia. The evening before the outreach event, the Global Missions team met to prepare all of the collected items. They packaged hygiene kits, snack kits, linens, ironing boards, toilet paper, and food, such as rice, juice, and cereal cups.

On the day of the event, CDGM volunteers set up tables in the parking lot outside the facility from which to distribute the supplies they brought. Some things CDM had in inventory in the warehouse (such as towels and ironing boards, diapers and other high-demand items) were brought in on two pallets to give directly to the shelter. The Salvation Army Coordinator, Kristie Wood, got her staff to come out to help unload these pallets onto their loading dock.


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The other two and a half pallets of items would be given directly to the clients. At this shelter, the clients get breakfast, typically leave during the day, then come back for dinner and to sleep. They were filtering back in for the day when our volunteers arrived. Once the Red Shield Shelter’s staff made an announcement to their residents that CDGM was there, the Global Missions team engaged with the shelter’s clients for two and a half hours, distributing the supplies they brought and ministering to the recipients. Those table moments were huge. It was edifying for our volunteers to have a “heart” interaction with the residents, to actually engage in conversation and provide encouragement as opposed to just dropping off a check or supplies. Sharing the grace of God that changes lives while also meeting the physical needs of God’s precious people is what outreach is all about—reaching out to become God’s hands and feet in the earth.

Click here to hear more about this outreach event!

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