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Mount Olive Baptist opens new Outreach Center in Stockbridge


By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

 Lurline Newton of Decatur beamed with anticipation as she got a glimpse of the offerings at Mount Olive Baptist Church’s brand-new Outreach Center. A lifelong member of the church, Newton said the opening of the center’s clothes closet and food pantry marks an “important moment” that will help to meet crucial needs in the community.

Community leaders gathered recently for the opening of the Mount Olive Baptist Church Outreach Center in Stockbridge. The center features a food pantry, clothes closet and GED program.                                          Photo by Jason A. Smith

  “It lets everybody know that we are serious about helping people with food and clothing,” she said. “Sometimes you just need clothing to interview for a job. How are they going to do that if they have no means?”

  Church leaders, on Saturday, launched the center at 470 Mount Olive Road in Stockbridge. More than 100 people came to the 4,000 square-foot facility, across the street from the church, to get their first look at rows of clothes and non-perishable food items at the center.

  Mount Olive’s Pastor, Terrance Gattis, said the outreach center was designed as a way for the church to have a positive impact in the lives of area residents.

  “It’s really for the community,” said Gattis. “We wanted to consolidate our outreach efforts for the community, and do more for the community.”

  Gattis said currently, the church feeds about 60 families through the food pantry.

  “That’s about 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of food a month that we deliver to families and seniors in Henry County,” he said.

  Families can also come to the clothes closet and get anything they need for free, the pastor said.

  Education is another focus of the Outreach Center. Beginning in August, the facility will offer a GED program for both Spanish and English-speaking students.

  “There are a lot of people in Henry County not graduating,” said Gattis. “We can help that by doing a GED program that will help them get a high-school education, but also potentially get a job. It’s hard to get a job without a high-school diploma. The GED program will help people get their diploma.”

  Robert Moseley is the chairman of the board of trustees for the church. He said Mount Olive Baptist has collected food for a number of years to help feed church members and others in the area, but wanted to expand their efforts to help more people.

   “We’ll try to clothe and feed as many people as we possibly can,” said Moseley. “The way the economy is now, they need help, they need jobs. We have a lot of people who have lost their income, lost their jobs. They just need help.”

  Non-perishable food items at the center come from donations, as well as from the Atlanta Food Bank. Moseley said the clothes closet concept has been in the works for a number of years and was initiated by a group of ladies at Mount Olive Baptist.

  Several community and government leaders were on hand to celebrate the center’s opening. Debra C. Wells, manager at Hands of Hope Clinic in Stockbridge, said she looks forward to continuing a good working relationship with the church through the new facility.

  “The shared resources that both organizations will be able to provide to citizens of Henry County, that are in need of both of our services, it strengthens the effort of both organizations in what we are trying to do to help our neighbors,” said Wells.

  Henry’s District V Commissioner, Bruce Holmes, praised Gattis and other church leaders for creating the center. Holmes said the church’s endeavors will help people get back on their feet, for the overall betterment of the county.

  “Anytime you have an organization that is doing something to give back to the community, it’s great,” said Holmes. “The more we have giving back, the better.”

  Stockbridge Councilman Alphonso Thomas also commended Gattis for taking the church’s message to the community in a tangible way.

  “These are the things that meet the needs of everyday people,” said Thomas. “This is the engine that makes things work. When you have people that are committed to the mission of the church, that is what makes it work for everyone.”

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