“If Your Identity is Broken, Your Life is Broken”

by Leize Marie Davis

Men experiencing homelessness chatting at Atlanta MissionMany early mornings at The Shepherd’s Inn, I have been visited by Paul. He comes in beaming and asking how he can pray for me. Throughout the conversation, he begins to recite the litany of his past wrongs and wounds: in and out of jail, abused as a child, drugs, life on the streets, etc. It breaks my heart that not only is his identity anchored in past abuse and mistakes. I wonder if he sees the joyful smile he brings to the room in the same way I do.

For years I tried to engage a client who has been in and out of one our shelter campuses for longer than I have worked here. Most times, she never speaks, and the rare responses I get are never friendly. A few weeks ago, I heard a client say goodbye as I was heading to my car. It was her! I barely recognized her with a smile on her face.

In his book People of the Second Chance, Mike Foster states, “…just because we have made mistakes doesn’t mean we are mistakes… Identity is the engine that drives the relationship not only with ourselves but also with God and Others. If your identity is broken, your life is broken.”

The men and women we serve believe their lives are the sum of their mistakes and their past wounds define the future. In order to help our clients become rooted in community we must address these broken identities. It is important that we work to see what is hidden deep beneath the scars and wounds of lives filled with trauma and abuse. We must demonstrate that the Lord believes they are more than the broken identity they see in the mirror.

The world tells those experiencing homelessness that they deserve to be in the margins, that their behavior is a representation of their identity. But we as Believers know better. We are called to repair their broken identities and help them see who they truly are, a beautiful creation made in God’s image.

Pray Without Ceasing

Praying HandsOur guests and staff face obstacles and hardships every day as they pursue transformation and fresh starts. We would appreciate your prayers and will share our requests periodically here on the blog.

Today, the following prayer requests are for the staff and guests at The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children.

The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children provides a variety of services, including childcare, showers, laundry, lunch, MARTA cards for medical appointments, medical care, life-skills classes, recreational opportunities, access to My Sister’s House (for overnight services), and much more.

For the Staff Team

Pray for unity and renewal as the staff work on the frontlines with women and children experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental illness, and PTSD. Pray for the staff to rely on the Lord as they attempt to love anew each day regardless of the constant flood of needs.

For Our Guests

Please continue to pray for the women and children who come to The Atlanta Day Shelter seeking help. Pray for people to experience the genuine love and peace of God. Pray for more mental health and recovery resources. Pray for the women’s safety and the safety of their children.

The Light: September 2017

Harry found healing at Atlanta Misison

"I was destroying myself."

Harry was a shattered man. His once happy life had broken apart. Now, he’d not only missed out on Thanksgiving — he hadn’t eaten in four days . . .

“I had it all, but I lost it all.” That’s how Harry summarizes the disastrous events that brought him to Atlanta Mission. He had everything a man could want — family, home, career and more. But when his wife of more than 20 years left him, it all came crashing down.

Harry was overwhelmed with sadness and “completely lost.” To ease that pain, he used cocaine heavily — only to lose the last thing that was keeping him going, his job. He stayed in motels until his money ran out. Then he was homeless.

Last year at Thanksgiving, he hit rock bottom.

“My best friend invited me over to celebrate, but I was so brokenhearted and lost in addiction that I missed it. I was destroying myself,” he remembers. Indeed, Harry was so low that he went four days straight without eating.

Desperately hungry, Harry realized he would have to dig through trash to eat — something he had never had to do before. The thought was so upsetting, so disturbing, that it finally convinced him to come to Atlanta Mission for help. “I came here with just the clothes on my back,” he says. “It was a day or two after Thanksgiving. When I got here, I couldn’t believe  how nice this place was. Everyone was so welcoming. And I was so relieved to have food, I was trying to eat everything and then some.”

Those meals sparked a healing journey that continues to this day. Now, not only is Harry clean, but he’s also living responsibly and recently began a new job. His relationship with his children has strengthened and he’s growing in faith.

Looking back, Harry says, “When my wife left, I should have followed God. Instead, I listened to my flesh. My teachers here taught me about spiritual warfare, and my counselors taught me about healing. I see now how I need God in everything.”

When he thinks about the pain he was in last Thanksgiving and where he is today, the contrast is stunning — and Harry is filled with gratitude. “Atlanta Mission has been a big blessing,” he says. “The people who support this place gave me another chance.”

Man Eating Thanksgiving Dinner at Atlanta Mission

Why They're Grateful for You

In their own words, our clients explain how your faithful prayers and support transformed their lives . . .

“I was on my own but I needed help. I didn’t know where I could go. I didn’t know how I would survive. But when I came to Atlanta Mission, everything was okay. The presence of God is here.”


“I used to come to Atlanta Mission just for a meal or a place to sleep. Eventually I got tired of being homeless and came for life transformation. Today I have a good job and a better future.”


“I was lost and hopeless, but I felt like God was saying, ‘Atlanta Mission is where you’re supposed to be.’ He was right of course. They gave me the help I needed.”


“If it weren’t for Atlanta Mission, I’d probably be dead. But here, I’m surrounded by people who genuinely care. I love it here.”


“I’m so grateful for Atlanta Mission. God redeemed my life here, and they helped me get back on my feet.”


Give Your Homeless Neighbors a Thanksgiving to Remember

ON THANKSGIVING DAY we’ll serve more than 1,000 turkey dinners. Take a look at the ingredients that make such a grand celebration possible:

  • 150 turkeys
  • 2,000 rolls
  • 100 lbs. of butter
  • 725 lbs. of potatoes
  • 90 gallons of gravy
  • 36 gallons of cranberry sauce
  • 80 gallons of macaroni
  • 150 lbs. of cheddar cheese
  • 180 lbs. of green beans
  • 20 lbs. of onions
  • 50 lbs. of celery
  • 80 pumpkin pies
  • 80 apple pies
  • 90 lbs. of chicken stock
  • 1,200 eggs
  • 150 lbs. of flour
  • 120 gallons of milk

Thank you for helping our homeless neighbors experience a celebration that fills their hearts with gratitude.

Thanksgiving Meals Transform Lives

Little Girl eating at Atlanta Mission

Very soon now, our homeless neighbors will begin arriving at Atlanta Mission in large numbers to escape the streets and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. As they experience food and fellowship and learn about God’s love, many will be inspired to begin a long-term healing journey — just like Harry.

Between now and Thanksgiving, we must serve close to 98,000 meals. And we need your help!

It costs just $2.67 to provide one nutritious meal. However many you choose to give, please don’t delay. We must have funds in place by October 10. Give Today.

Your gift will provide delicious meals for our guests and other life-transforming resources that help end homelessness in Atlanta. Click here to donate this Thanksgiving season.

The Grace of Giving

Thanks for sharing God’s love with severely disadvantaged children and families.

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

50 cent Donation to Atlanta Mission from Faithful DonorIn my top desk drawer, I keep a letter from a man with two quarters taped to it. As he explained, it was all he had but he wanted to give it to the Atlanta Mission because of the critical needs of the people we serve — needs that were greater than his. Like the story of the widow’s mite in Luke 21, I believe God honors these gifts and performs miracles with them.

I see his letter every day, and it is a wonderful reminder to be grateful for the sacrificial giving exhibited by so many good people in our community. A heart of giving is itself a wonderful gift from God.

As recorded in Acts 20:35, Jesus said it was more blessed to give than to receive. I see that firsthand at Atlanta Mission when I watch men and women who may not have a single possession share with one another. Even if the gift is small — like a candy bar or an extra portion of dessert — this act of kindness never fails to brighten the day of both people. But the biggest smile always belongs to the giver!

In that same way, I hope your faithful prayers and support for Atlanta Mission fill your heart with joy this Thanksgiving, too. I have seen tears of gratitude in our halls, and they are a testament to the impact of your compassion and support for Atlanta Mission.

Jim Reese

Atlanta Mission Prepares for Irma

Facing weather like Irma can be scary, even with shelter and preparations. Imagine though, that you have no walls to protect you, maybe just a tent or a cardboard box. A tropical storm becomes a life or death situation for someone experiencing homelessness. That’s why this morning, Atlanta Mission staff went out and helped countless individuals find a safe place to stay. That’s why at lunch, Atlanta Mission volunteers braved the elements to come serve meals to those who would otherwise be outside in this storm. You can hear more about their efforts in the videos below.

Please pray for the following during the duration of this storm:

  • Pray for safety for our staff as they drive through severe weather to get to our campuses.
  • Pray for strength for our staff and volunteers as they serve overnight.
  • Pray for the protection of those facing homelessness who are remaining outdoors.


Homeless Moms and Children Build Relationships through Cub Scouts

Do you remember camping as a kid? Building a fire, making s’mores, telling ghost stories, and staring at the stars? Perhaps you have taken your children camping, and have seen the joy on their faces as they experience the great outdoors.

Many of the children that we serve have never had experiences like these. They may have spent nights sleeping on the street or in cars out of necessity, but many have never camped out for fun. They may not have ever been outside the city. Joshua Crawford, Boy Scout Program Leader, aims to change that. Last year, he took three boys from Atlanta Mission, their siblings, and their moms on a camping trip in rural Georgia. “The smiles on their faces were priceless,” says Joshua.

Young Boys involved in Cub Scouts at Atlanta MissionHe has been leading a Cub Scout pack at My Sister’s House (Atlanta Mission’s campus for women and their children) for the past two years. All boys in first through fifth grade are invited to participate. The moms are also encouraged to come with their sons to each event. “It is incredibly important that moms share experiences like these with their children,” says Josh.

Building good relationships between parents and their children is an essential goal of the Boy Scout program, and it is especially critical for the moms and children we serve. Many moms have been through such trauma and upheaval that they haven’t been able to simply have fun, relax, and build relationships with their children.

The Cub Scout pack meets each week at My Sister’s House. They recite the scout oath, play games, build birdhouses, learn how to tie knots, learn wilderness skills, and more. They sell popcorn each year as a fundraiser, and go to events together like Braves games and camping trips. Joshua loves getting to know each scout and making a difference in their lives. “Your time with one child can change their life and give them hope,” he says. If you are interested in volunteering with the Cub Scout Pack at My Sister’s House, email Joshua at Joshua.crawford@scouting.org.

See People and Love them Well

By Denise Briscoe

Denise, an ambassador at Atlanta MissionToday I reached my 300th guest. What does that mean? That means I have had the amazing privilege to get to know 300 beautifully made women, and sometimes their children, one on one while building a relationship with them. I have worked with Atlanta Mission at The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children for three and a half years now. I have been a staff ambassador for two of those years to women experiencing homelessness. As I think of all the individuals I have had to opportunity to sit with and talk to, I am overwhelmed with a full heart.

God has blessed me to get to see some very talented ladies. I’ve sat in a room with a woman that was born to be on a stage singing her heart. I could sit and listen to her sing and hang onto every word of the gospel song that came out of her mouth. Collage created by a woman at Atlanta MissionI’ve listened to an amazing singer/songwriter/guitarist and seen her heart for people. I know she is going out into her community with her music to bring hope to all those around her. I’ve been given the opportunity to lead different classes that turned into a mix of Spoken Word, poems, and true words coming from the heart about whatever topic we were learning that day. I could see the wheels turning in creativity as women used art to express themselves, whether that be with painting, coloring, or drawing.

Why am I telling you this? Because all too often it’s easier to just not look at a person for who they really are. We are always so quick to judge someone because of the situation we think we “know” they are in. When we look at the “messy” in people’s lives, we don’t really want to touch that. When that happens though, we miss out on their beauty.

I want to challenge you today. I want you to go out into the world and look at people for who they really are. Don’t just look at the woman on the street as just another “homeless person”. Look at each one as the amazing person that God created them to be. See people and love them well.

The Light: August 2017

Macey and her children at atlanta mission

Breaking Free from Generational Poverty

After years of abuse, poverty, and dysfunction, Macey and her children had run out of options. Desperate to avoid the streets, they came to Atlanta Mission . . .

“I’ve struggled for a long time,” Macey admits. “Bad jobs, abusive boyfriends, moving around a lot. It’s been one thing after another.”

In many ways, these struggles are a continuation of her childhood. Macey came from a broken home, and instability has characterized much her life. This constant chaos has made it nearly impossible for her to provide for her children, too.

Eventually, she ran out of options and came to Atlanta Mission. For the first time, she experienced a stable, healthy environment to learn and grow in.

“I’m so grateful for Atlanta Mission,” Macey says. “It’s safe, we have beds to sleep on, and it’s been very good for me and my kids, Faith and Greggory.”

Today, both children are doing well in school. They received uniforms and backpacks from Atlanta Mission. And Macey is especially appreciative of the activities her children get to enjoy. “There are arts and  crafts, plus sports. They never had these opportunities before.”

The family isn’t just having fun, though. Their time here is intensely purposeful. For example, Macey took a parenting class that has dramatically improved her interaction with her children. “I’m a better mother now,” she explains. “This class gave me the tools I need to connect with my children — to really hear what they’re saying, understand them, and help them mature.”

More effective communication has been a key part of the family’s spiritual growth, too. “We’re all learning about God, and we talk about the Bible. Faith and Greggory have a better understanding of who Jesus is, and it’s changed their lives.” She continues: “I’m still going through some tough things, but I’ve learned to keep my focus on God, and He gives me peace.”

Today, Macey’s life really has changed in every way. She’s working towards her GED and will soon begin career training. She has a bright future! “I can’t even imagine where I’d be without Atlanta Mission,” Macey said. “They rescued us from homelessness and opened so many doors for me. This place was an answer to my prayers.”

A Safe Nurturing Environment for Moms and Kids

"Homelessness is a form of trauma, and the effects are so devastating that they can span generations."

Donielle, Director of Children's Services at Atlanta Mission

Those are the blunt words of Donielle Griffith, the Director of Children’s Services at My Sister’s House, Atlanta Mission’s shelter for women and children.

She continues: “Many of the women here have fled violent abuse, and the children have grown up in chronically unstable environments. On average, they’ve gone to three different schools every year. And they’ve seen things no child should ever have to see.”

Is it any wonder, then, that these boys and girls are more likely to “inherit” their parents’ struggles? “A lifetime of disadvantages can’t be solved in a night,” Donielle explains. “Healing requires a holistic, long-term approach that begins with a safe, nurturing environment for moms and kids. With stability, Child at Atlanta Mission's My Sister's Housewe can help them come to terms with their past and address numerous other issues like parenting, behavior, finances, life skills, faith, education, work…every area of need.”

Taken together, these resources transform lives by giving mothers the tools and understanding to be positive, productive, responsible citizens.

“The parenting class has been particularly well received,” Donielle adds. “It’s helping women like Macey (see front page) become closer, more nurturing, and more empathetic with their children.”

Helping Kids Succeed in Life

Donielle’s team also serves children. “Most of these boys and girls are well behind peers from stable homes. So we want to provide them with comprehensive services, too. We’re helping babies reach their milestones; Pre K children enjoy a Bible-based curriculum that nourishes mind and soul; and elementary students receive tutoring,” Donielle says. “We celebrated in spring when not a single student was held back. Kids at Atlanta Mission with bikeNow the kids are returning to school with more confidence and excitement! This progress is exciting for us, and for the moms and kids, too. It’s just amazing how young lives change when chaos is replaced with love, stability, and encouragement.”

Your support gives struggling moms and children brighter futures. Thank you for helping end generational poverty in Atlanta!

My Sister's House...

…is Atlanta Mission’s shelter for women and children. That name allows boys and girls here to tell their friends at school where they live without any stigma.

Please help children and families without a home

Change their stories and create a brighter future

Child in front of blackboard holding book at Atlanta MissionChildren across the greater Atlanta area are returning to school. Many of them thrive on the joys of education and learning. But not all. Right here in our community, there are precious boys and girls whose parents are struggling with homelessness.

Experience tells us that if these families don’t receive help, their circumstances won’t improve. And their children are unlikely to succeed in school. Rather, these innocent boys and girls could be in the exact same situation as their parents in just a few short years.

When you support Atlanta Mission with a back-to-school gift today, you allow us to provide these families with food, shelter, and stability. Their children receive backpacks, books, food, tutoring, behavioral counseling, and healthy social outlets that allow them to succeed in school.

Taken together, these resources can break generational poverty and give local children a brighter future. Please strengthen this worthy effort by sending your next generous gift today.

Your prayer and support transform lives!

Welcome the Children!

Thanks for sharing God’s love with severely disadvantaged children and families.

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

When His disciples tried to shoo away eager children, Jesus became indignant. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).

Thanks to your generosity, Atlanta Mission follows our Lord’s example and eagerly welcomes children today. When they arrive here with their moms, it’s often the first time the kids feel safe and secure. While they’re here, we make every effort to help them feel loved and cared for, too. They have fun, make friends, and experience an educational curriculum that inspires faith and learning.

Additionally, the families work with behavioral specialists and counselors who help them process their emotional trauma…and heal!

You’re Impacting Lives for Eternity

Not a day goes by that we don’t see God performing miracles in the lives of the children here. Many of them have overcome more in their short lives than most adults. As they return to school, my heart is filled with hope for these precious boys and girls! It’s one of the best parts of my job, seeing them catch up with their classmates as their moms regain hope and the promise of a bright future.

Thanks for sharing God’s love with severely disadvantaged children and families. You are transforming lives, and I pray He blesses you.


Jim Reese
President & CEO

What’s It Like Being Homeless in Summer?

Temperatures are rising in Atlanta. For our neighbors experiencing homelessness, this can be a dangerous time.After winter, we look forward to warmer weather, but a Georgia summer can be stifling—hot, humid, and exhausting. We may enjoy some outdoor recreation, but we look forward to going back to our air-conditioned cars and homes, sipping an icy beverage and perhaps taking a cool shower after just a few hours outside.

But what if you were experiencing homelessness and had no way out of the heat? What if you had to spend your days and nights outdoors without relief, with no cool water, drenched in perspiration with no way of getting yourself or your clothes clean?

Fortunately, for women and children, there’s a welcome alternative to the misery of unrelenting summer heat: Atlanta Mission’s The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children.

Beating the heat

Denise is an ambassador at The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children (ADS). Her job is to build relationships with the clients who come through the door looking for help. “They just walk right into an air-conditioned building where they’re welcomed in and asked what they need,” she says of how ADS works for the heat-weary looking for relief.

That might include a shower, laundry services, a home-cooked meal, summer clothing or diapers and formula for the little ones. “They’re welcome to spend the day,” Denise says. “They can just hang out, or take a life skills class, do Zumba, participate in a discussion group, play board games.”

But the women aren’t the only ones who feel stress from the heat; the kids do too. A special Childcare Ambassador creates fun, relaxing programs for them, including playtime, learning opportunities and arts and crafts projects.

For those who need more

The Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children is open from 8:15 am to 3:00 pm, but for those who also need a place to spend the night, the staff will work to find them a place to sleep. Atlanta Mission’s My Sister’s House is the first choice for overnight accommodations, but if there is no space available, Day Services will work to find temporary housing. If something longer term is needed, the team goes on the hunt to help place them.

Body and spirit

Denise reminds us that heat puts a lot of stress on the body, and it’s not just from possible dehydration: “When you’re outside sweating, you’re burning a lot of calories. People need to eat.” Of course, being homeless comes with plenty of other stresses too, so one of the goals of ADS is to create a pleasant, low-tension environment.

Part of that process involves addressing the emotional and spiritual well-being of each person who passes through its doors. In addition to having their physical needs attended to, the clients are brought into an environment where people like Denise truly care about each individual as a whole person.

She tells a story of a woman who came from out of state after leaving a gang. It took her a while to drop her tough demeanor, but in time, she let her walls down. She has now embarked on a new life journey with the help of counseling and a solid foundation in faith. The key to her transformation? Simply feeling that she really mattered to someone.

Summer is a busy time

As the number on the thermometer goes up, so does the number of people stopping by ADS. Denise estimates they may see as many as 50 percent more clients on a daily basis during the summer. When the heat becomes unbearable, women in need come because they’ve heard positive things about ADS, or they were referred by 211, the Federal Communications Commission’s helpline number.

When dealing with her hot, exhausted clients, Denise has come to appreciate her own privilege and how much we take for granted—how something as commonplace as air conditioning can make such a difference in quality of life, for example.

That’s a good thing, she says. “My ADS clients may not believe it when I say that I’m not helping change them, they change me. But I’m more grounded now, less selfish—they’ve rocked my life!”


The Light: July 2017

Wheelchairs in First

When Chris was homeless, no one cared that he was disabled. But a little kindness at Atlanta Mission changed his life...

With tears in his eyes, Chris remembered the first time he came to Atlanta Mission: “I was waiting in line outside in the heat with all the other guys when a man came out from Atlanta Mission and said ‘wheelchairs in first.’ Since I’d been homeless, no one had ever shown any concern for my disability. No one cared. No one would even hold a door.”

He continued: “It gave me goose bumps that this man really saw me. It convinced me to stay and get help.” Not a moment too soon.

The son of an addict, Chris had unfortunately followed in his father’s footsteps — and paid dearly for it. Drug abuse cost him his wife, his home, and once he was incarcerated, his freedom. In prison, he suffered extreme violence that left him with a significant case of PTSD. That’s also where he lost his leg — a foot ulcer was repeatedly infected, until doctors had no choice but amputation.

So much trauma left Chris in emotional turmoil. Once he was released from prison, he soon found himself suffering on Atlanta’s hot streets.

“Every day was a challenge. A struggle. The heat is brutal. There were times when I thought I would pass out. Trying to get food, water, and power to charge my wheelchair took all my strength. I’d sleep for a few hours at the airport or MARTA, but I was always exhausted,’’ said Chris.

Even still, he added, “the lack of caring is worse.”

All of that stands in stark contrast to his experiences at Atlanta Mission. “I received meals and a bed,” he said. “I always have someone to talk to, and the people here are helping me rebuild my life.”

Today, Chris is doing great! He has his own apartment, and he volunteers at Atlanta Mission nearly every day. “I like to serve the guys here, to make their days a little better. It makes me glad to pass along the same help and hope that I received.”

"It's Going to be a Long, Hot Summer"

This time of year, the heat can be deadly. Your generous support for Atlanta Mission
ensures no homeless neighbors must stay outside and suffer . . .

Man experiencing homelessness, outside in the summer heatOne man would search for littered bottles, then fill them up in MARTA bathrooms to ensure he had water… A woman with two young children was in anguish standing in the hot sun waiting for a bus… Others have suffered dehydration, heat stroke, and worse.

These stories from our guests show just how brutal the summer heat can be on the streets. “When a person comes to Atlanta Mission, they can receive water, showers, clean clothes, food, and a cool, safe place to sleep,” says Michael Sheppard, Shelter Director of The Shepherd’s Inn, our men’s shelter.

Your faithful prayers and support make those resources possible — and give comfort to many hurting people.

Last summer, the temperature was above 90 degrees nearly every day. For people trapped in the heat, dehydration and heat stroke were very real dangers. Sheppard explained, “When someone walks through our doors, we have a brief window of opportunity to show them love, and to encourage them to take the next step, choose help, and come off the streets once and for all.”

Sheppard adds, “Not everyone is ready for longterm help. So we remind them: It’s going to be a long, hot summer! Today is the day to choose help.”

Many will accept our offer. Others will leave, only to return a short time later. And by God’s grace, countless people will be transformed — now, and for eternity.

homeles men outside in the summer heat

Summer is Brutal in Atlanta

The average summertime temperature in Atlanta is 89 degrees, and many days are much hotter. In these conditions, the blacktop can reach 175 degrees. And the consequences for our homeless neighbors are severe:

  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Heat Stroke
  • Fainting

When a person comes to Atlanta Mission, they can receive:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Showers
  • Clean clothes
  • A safe place to sleep
  • and a chance to change their lives for good

Your Generosity Can Restore Lives

"With your help, thousands of suffering Atlanta neighbors will receive urgently needed water, food, and shelter that helps them feel loved and cared for during the heat of summer."

“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat” (Isaiah 25:4a).

Hardship on the streets in summer is relentless. Thirst and dehydration are only the beginning. Hunger is a continual challenge. Torrential thunderstorms temporarily reduce temperatures, only to leave our homeless neighbors soaked and miserable.

Taken together, these difficulties can break even the hardiest soul.

But there’s hope…

Your Gifts Bring Healing

By partnering with Atlanta Mission, you are serving as God’s loving hands. He is using you to provide refuge for people in distress — just as it says in Isaiah. With your help, thousands of suffering neighbors will receive urgently needed water, food, and shelter that helps them feel loved and cared  for during the heat of summer.

But every day, more homeless men, women, and children walk through the doors of Atlanta Mission. They’re desperate — and your support is critical, especially as we face increased water and electricity bills. Please make a generous summertime gift today. Thank you, and God bless you for your compassion!

Jesus Shows the Way

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

Life on the streets is lonely, scary, and painful. Yet we serve a King who understands this suffering intimately. After all, Jesus experienced the trials of homelessness firsthand. When a teacher of the law promised to follow Him, Jesus warned:

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” — Matthew 8:20, NIV

Jesus also understood that extreme poverty was a physical barrier that contributed to a spiritual barrier. In many Gospel stories, a person with a disability would come to Him hoping for a physical healing — and indeed, He answered their cries for help. But His desire extended to their spiritual healing, too.

His model guides Atlanta Mission today! As the heat beats down on men, women, and children on the streets, they come here for a cold drink of water, showers, shelter, and a break from suffering.

Your love, prayers, and generosity ensure the physical needs of our homeless neighbors are met with sincere compassion. As with Jesus, meeting physical needs is only the beginning. By God’s grace, you’re also helping people here experience emotional and spiritual healing, too!

Thank you, and God bless you, for sacrificing so generously for the sake of people in desperate circumstances. God is using you in a powerful way.


Jim Reese
President & CEO

Rooted in Community

by Leize Marie Davis

Atlanta Mission’s research shows that an overwhelming majority of the men and women that we serve have no healthy relationships. This means that there is no one in their corner to celebrate successes or support them in crisis. The first objective of our Transformation Model to End Homelessness is to change this.

A client who is Rooted in Community:

  • Has reliable and healthy relationships with at least one person or organization. The relationships are founded in mutual respect, trust, honesty, and support.
  • Is growing in a relationship with Christ.
  • Has at least one personal or corporate productive hobby or recreational outlet.

Over the past year, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of community in my own life. Becoming a mother has highlighted my own desperate need to be seen, heard, and helped. I am blessed with an amazing husband who provides much of that support. However, we both still depend on our community for many things, especially as we learn how to become parents.

Rooted in Community at Atlanta Mission - Mom, Grandmother, and BabyOften, we talk about our need for community as a support system when we experience hard times. However, I have realized a greater purpose of community is celebrating together. For example, my mother believes that my 5-month-old son is going to save the world. Not only does she tell me this over and over, but I also know she repeatedly tells anyone who will listen that her grandson is amazing.

A few weeks ago, I sent our family a video of my son playing with a toy. I said it was cute; my mom said it was a demonstration of his incredible genius. My mom’s constant encouragement and excitement are more valuable to me than any physical help she could provide.

Healthy community wildly celebrates the small steps in our journeys. Our clients’ first experiences of kinship are in our buildings, with our staff. We are called to not simply share in their joys and triumphs, but to rejoice and revel in the little things that make our clients human. Most of society believes that those experiencing homelessness do not have much to celebrate. However, we know that the Lord sees them and how He feels about them.

Our clients have lived their lives on the fringes of society. Atlanta Mission’s Transformation Model to End Homelessness is designed to engage them in a community that models His Kingdom.

Atlanta Mission’s Faithful Friend Donors

The Atlanta Mission's Faithful Friend programThanks to the generosity of a longtime Atlanta Mission donor, we have the special opportunity for your first monthly gift to be tripled, which means if you sign up to be a monthly donor, or Faithful Friend as we call this loyal group of donors, your gift will triple in impact. One meal will become three, one hot shower will become three hot showers, one night of shelter and safety will in fact provide three.

Becoming a Faithful Friend helps provide a level of stability to our residents that they may not have experienced before. By providing consistency of place, relationship, and provision, personal transformation is made possible.

What consistent services will your generous donation provide? Shelter: a bed, a shower, comfort and safety. Healthy food, community, and the ability to share a meal and conversation with others. Clothing: not just to protect against the elements, but clothes that bolster self-esteem and are appropriate for work. Counseling and a supportive spiritual community to help heal the soul and grow in faith. Life skills classes and job training to provide personal growth in preparation for healthy work and community relationships.

It’s easy to sign up: Simply go to the Faithful Friends monthly donor page and select an amount for your pledge each month. Your gift will be automatically deducted from the account of your choice, creating an easy, consistent way to donate that provides the help someone needs to get back on their feet and move toward a better future.

You’ll also receive updates on the impact your generous gift has made on the people you’ve helped.

Become a Faithful Friend

The 2017 Atlanta Mission 5K Race Recap


On the morning of February 18, 2017, Atlanta Mission residents, community members, and volunteers turned out in force for the annual 5K Race to End Homelessness. It was a timely event—just a week earlier, the overnight temperature had dipped below freezing, so sleeping outdoors was especially dangerous.

For those people with nowhere to sleep but the streets, the race offered hope: For each registration, Atlanta Mission provided someone a night of shelter, including a warm bed, a hot shower, a decent meal, and an opportunity for life-transforming services.

On race day, 250 volunteers gathered at Centennial Olympic Park downtown before daybreak to set up. As the runners began to arrive, over 3,800 of them, they prepped with stretching exercises and fun dance warmups. The upbeat crowd consisted of young and old alike, men and women from every walk of life, including shelter residents.

Atlanta Mission’s CEO, Jim Reese, said at the time, “It’s so exciting to see these people come downtown and say, ‘These people matter.’ We can’t thank them enough.”

When the sponsor’s mascot, the Fidelity Bank lion, fired off the starting shot, the excited runners took to the downtown Atlanta streets, where they would race north toward Georgia Tech and back, past the CNN Center, Atlanta Mission’s large men’s campus, and the World of Coca-Cola.

The fastest time was turned in at 16 minutes, 47 seconds, but for many, it wasn’t about speed. With Atlanta Mission clients running alongside their supporters, it was an empowering experience for them to connect with others in the community and to realize they are cared about.

The Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness is an annual event and is one of the last Official AJC Peachtree Road Race Qualifying Events. It’s one of the largest 5K races in Georgia, and it’s growing every year, with the 2018 race expected to be even larger.

Not only did participating in the race help race participants break out of the isolation that is so much a part of homelessness—for some it simply meant the opportunity to accomplish something. As one resident proudly said, “I’ve never finished anything in my life. The way that I’m going to feel today when I cross that finish line is the way I’m going to feel when I graduate.”



The Light: February 2017

He's My Brother

When a volunteer befriended a guest, the result was life changing . . . for both.

Hakeem was jobless, homeless, and depressed. On a downward spiral, he had lost a relationship and was using drugs to numb his pain.

“I was just done,” he says. “I was even considering suicide.” He desperately needed help . . . and a friend.

He ended up finding both at Atlanta Mission, where the staff offered counseling and comfort to help Hakeem begin to turn things around. But it was his friendship with a volunteer that really saved his life.

“It hasn’t been all peaches and cream,” Hakeem says. “But if it weren’t for Atlanta Mission and meeting Kirk, I might not be alive today.”

Kirk had been volunteering at Atlanta Mission — with an outreach program through Buckhead Church — for a couple of years when he first met Hakeem. He organized Atlanta Mission’s chapel services on Wednesday nights, and struck up conversations with guests.

“No agenda,” Kirk says. “Just talk, and listen. You never know who might get blessed.”

Hakeem, who was also trying to beat a drug addiction, certainly was blessed. He saw something in Kirk that gave him hope, a reason to live.

“He’s genuine, he’s authentic, and there’s no hidden ‘motive’ when he talks to you,” Hakeem says. “He’s just a role model of what it looks like to follow Jesus. He walks before he talks, and you see it.”

Kirk was blessed too. Early on, after a long conversation, Kirk knew he wanted to pursue a deeper friendship, one that would be mutually beneficial in ways that neither could have imagined at the time.

Kirk hired Hakeem as a customer service rep at his auto parts store, but it wouldn’t be long before Hakeem’s service took on a whole new role . . . as personal assistant to a man who had just been given a death sentence.

“We needed each other”

When Kirk was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, doctors said he wouldn’t have long to live. That was more than a year ago. The journey has been brutal, but Kirk has persevered through surgery, chemo, and more . . . and remained joyful all along.

“I decided from the beginning, that whatever this rollercoaster looks like, I’m going to make it for the glory of God,” Kirk says.

Hakeem is blown away. “There’s no self-pity with Kirk,” Hakeem says. “But it’s very hard for me to see him going through this.”

Both men say they’re eternally grateful for their friendship.

“I think it’s from God that we crossed paths,” Hakeem says. “We both needed each other.”

“Hakeem has probably changed me more than I’ve changed him,” Kirk says. “We sharpen each other, every day. I feel like he’s my brother.”

Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness and generosity. Thank you!

What Love Looks Like

See how these friends of Atlanta Mission are stepping up to the challenge


RM-17-02-4639-1-F02AT-February-eNewsletter-2017BAEONK-Blog-article-daren-karen-280x260Daren and Karen are monthly donors who also volunteer by bringing clothing and helping to serve meals.

“Giving financially is definitely one way to help,” they say, “but to actually develop relationships is such a blessing. These folks have just landed on hard times for some reason, so it’s a blessing to be able to help.”


Ryan and Jessica have been running in and RM-17-02-4639-1-F02AT-February-eNewsletter-2017BAEONK-Blog-article-ryan-jessica-280x260helping organize the 5K Race to End Homelessness. For them, it’s a way to give back.

“There are tons of 5K races out there, but this one has a real sense of community,” Ryan says. “Everyone comes together to serve a joint goal, to end homelessness in Atlanta. It’s a way for everyone to give back to the city they love.”


RM-17-02-4639-1-F02AT-February-eNewsletter-2017BAEONK-Blog-article-james-280x260James volunteers regularly in the cafeteria and at chapel services.

“I was looking for a place to serve, and I got hooked on it,” he says. “It’s awesome to see the guys transition and transform. And we become friends along the way. Serving there brings perspective. When you serve, you will be transformed.”

Be a life-changer . . . starting today

RM-17-02-4639-1-F02AT-February-eNewsletter-2017BAEONK-Blog-article-life-changer-280x260Are you ready to make a positive impact on someone’s life, including your own? Hundreds of people who have chosen to seek help at Atlanta Mission need others to walk with them on their journey. They need people to show up — to be there, to bring hope when things seem hopeless.

We challenge you to take action. Pray. Volunteer. Get involved. And, yes, give!

In fact, if you become a monthly donor, your first gift will be tripled in value thanks to a generous matching gift challenge! Your monthly Faithful Friend gift will help even more to provide meals, shelter, clean clothes and the love of Jesus Christ to the hundreds of people seeking our help every day.

Thanks for making a difference in the lives of people who need it most. We hope it makes a difference in your life as well.

To donate, call 404-350-1301 or visit www.atlantamission.org/triple.

My Challenge: Love

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

For most people who are homeless, the deepest wound is relational poverty. Many have no relationships. They come to us utterly alone — physically, emotionally, and socially.

That’s why Atlanta Mission focuses on building relationships and trust. We want our guests to feel loved unconditionally. Along the way, with God’s help, our guests move from hopelessness to hope, to restoration and a transformed life.

Many of our supporters and volunteers are also building relationships with our guests. They often tell me how the experience has changed their lives. They always leave with so much more than they could ever give. Whether it’s Georgia Tech students coming in at 5 a.m. to serve breakfast (with smiles on their faces!) or the women who do Bible studies and gain a new appreciation of a single mother’s pain, they all leave here changed.

God designed us all for relationships. It’s why He sent Christ to Earth — to die for us so that our broken relationship with the Father could be restored.

We celebrate love in the month of February. In light of that, I would like to challenge you this month to love someone at Atlanta Mission, someone you would never expect to love — and, truthfully, they would never expect you to love them, either.

Serve. Volunteer. Show up. Pray. Love. This is also a good time to become a monthly giver, as a generous donor is offering a challenge gift for all new Faithful Friends. Whatever you decide, God will use this action in a powerful way.

Thanks for your love, care, and generosity!

16.06-F02AT-eNewsletter-Blog-Director-Photo-140x140Jim Reese
President & CEO

The 2017 Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness

atlmission5k-racheliliadis-217 (1)Over 3,000 participants chose to run in the Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness last year, braving the mid-February cold. But for the many homeless individuals on the Atlanta streets, being out in the cold, day and night throughout the winter, is not a choice they freely make.

This year, join us at Centennial Olympic Park at 8:15 am on February 18 to help offer these men, women, and children a choice. Each race registration will fund one night of shelter and services for a person who would otherwise be out on the streets in the cold. Donors, community members, volunteers, and Atlanta Mission clients will come together to help end homelessness, a particularly dangerous experience in the bitter winter months.

Whether you volunteer, run in the race, or support it financially, you’ll feel the positivity, excitement and hope in the air when you arrive. Volunteers help coordinate the run, and the runners are given direction and do warm-up activities before embarking on the route, which winds through sectioned-off lanes on downtown Atlanta streets.

Said one resident who participated in the 2016 run, a man who had been battling drug addiction and a deep crisis of the spirit, “I never knew how much I was struggling inside. The Atlanta Mission gave me this foundation I have right now…They helped me find a new life. Today, I’m running for myself and the guys at the Atlanta Mission. Some of them can’t run, but I ran for them, because I know we can overcome it.”

Other Atlanta Mission clients who have participated in the race stress the importance of being able to actually finish something—which many have not been able to do in a long time. It also represents an opportunity to get together with new people and be part of something healthy, rather than feeling as though they are on the forgotten fringes of society.

You can help take the chill out of winter for the homeless with your participation. Register for the Atlanta Mission 5K Race here, either as a single runner, or as part of a team—start your own or join an existing one. By running, you’ll also be participating in an official AJC Peachtree Road Race Qualifying Event prior to the 2017 lottery.

Register Now


Atlanta Mission 5K RunnersFor Immediate Distribution

Atlanta Mission and the community of Atlanta take over Downtown Atlanta for the 5K Race to End Homelessness happening February 18, 2017 at 8:15AM. Thousands of men, women and children will take to the streets of downtown Atlanta to run a race in the cold for those who sleep in the cold. The city of Atlanta is home to over 7,000 homeless men, women, and children who face the perilous conditions of winter without a roof over their heads. Each race registration will cover one night of shelter and services for someone who would otherwise spend the night in the cold, on the streets.

The race will take place at Centennial Olympic Park (the Olympic Rings) at 8:15AM. We are expecting over 3,000 runners this year. They will be running alongside the men, women, and children who live at Atlanta Mission. This race is also a Peachtree Road Race Qualifier.

Atlanta Mission serves over 1,000 of these men, women and children every single day. The downtown men’s shelter alone is a refuge for over 400 men on a daily basis. We hope you will join us this February as donors, volunteers, community members and Atlanta Mission clients run side by side in the race to end homelessness. For more information on the race go to www.atlantamission.org/race


The city’s largest and longest-running provider of homeless services, Atlanta Mission transforms, through Christ, the lives of those facing homelessness. Established in 1938, Atlanta Mission provides overnight shelter, job attainment programming, long-term residential discipleship programming and transitional housing for more than 1,000 homeless men, women and children daily. For more information about Atlanta Mission, visit www.atlantamission.org


Important Items to Donate this Winter

Fall and early winter are the perfect time of year to donate items to local shelters. As the weather becomes colder and holidays approach, the need for services and items that shelters provide increases. If you’re interested in helping serve the population of Atlanta, here are some of the most important items you could donate now.

Winter Clothing

The need for winter clothing usually piques during winter — especially at the beginning of the season. Not only do regulars need items, but families often come to shelters seeking jackets, hats and gloves. Purchasing all of these items for each child can place a significant burden on families that are just getting by financially.

If you’d like to donate clothing, thick socks, boots, coats, scarves and hats are some of the most sought-after items. Don’t just limit what you bring to winter essentials. Below is a list of just some of the items that are needed for men, women, and children year round. Please see a more complete list here.

  • Liquid Soap
  • Reading Glasses
  • Underwear
  • Water-based lotion
  • Aerosol Deodorant
  • Baby Wipes
  • Diapers size 4T and Up

Books and Toys

Recreation has an important role in everyone’s life, for everyone needs a break from their daily struggles. For people who can’t afford to spend money on recreational activities, donated items provide a valuable source of fun.

At this time of year, recreational items that are enjoyed indoors are particularly appreciated. Soccer balls, basketballs and sidewalk chalk can still be used on some of Atlanta’s warmer days, but books, crayons (for kids) and quiet toys can be used regardless of whether it’s sunny outside. Additionally, reading glasses aren’t as widely needed, but a pair can make a huge difference to an older adult who is beginning to have trouble seeing text.

School Supplies

For many people who come to shelters during the fall and winter, school supplies can have a lasting impact. Having the items they need to complete homework and assignments, and to take to school with them, can help both children and adults who are taking classes throughout the school year.

School supplies for both children and adults are needed throughout the entire school year, including at this time of year. A few supplies that you can bring include pencils, pens, lined paper and folders, but this is not a comprehensive list of supplies that students need.

At Atlanta Mission, we welcome donations throughout fall and winter, and we’d be grateful to receive any of these items.Contact us to learn more about donating or find out whether we could use an item that’s not mentioned here.

Transformation through Faithful Friendship


1. a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

The most incredible and compelling transformations I’ve ever seen have happened in the lives of other human beings. This kind of transformation often takes place in the context of friendship. Encouragement, trust, vulnerability, and loving moments where hard truths are spoken all combine to become a sort of cocoon, a safe place for life transformation to happen. 

Our friend Keith recently shared with us about the transformation that has taken place in his own life.


Keith, a guest of Atlanta Mission“I came to Atlanta Mission broken, wounded, and sad. In my time at Atlanta Mission, I found a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and it has made me glad.

I’m glad about the transformation of my mind. I’m glad about pursuing my job to the best of my ability. I’m glad about being in a clean and sober state of mind. I’m glad about food to eat and clothing on my back. I’m glad about my own place to live in.

Atlanta Mission stands for transforming lives. Surely it has transformed my life and ended my homelessness. I’m willing to use all that Atlanta Mission has taught me to give back to others so that their lives can be transformed.”


At Atlanta Mission’s campuses, we see life transformation every day. For someone experiencing homelessness like Keith, it may begin with a hot meal and a night of shelter. When combined with the consistent and intentional friendship of staff, volunteers, and other guests, change often begins.

One of the best ways to support life transformation at Atlanta Mission is to become a Faithful Friend. Faithful Friends are donors who provide critically needed support to Atlanta Mission on a monthly basis to help end homelessness, one friend at a time. This is a powerful way to walk alongside the men, women, and children at our campuses.

Your gift would provide consistent support for food, shelter, educational services, job attainment, counseling, and much more! Will you help create the environment that life transformation takes place in?



How We Prepare Clients for Life After Homelessness

Atlanta Mission is dedicated to helping disadvantaged families take back their lives, but we offer so much more than just a safe place to sleep at night. When you donate to Atlanta Mission, you help parents find jobs to support their children. You help young men beat drug and alcohol addiction. You help Atlanta’s youth receive an excellent education. Our impact is long-term and permanent and so much more than just a Band-Aid solution. If you wonder where your money goes when you donate to Atlanta Mission, we have good news to share.

Continue reading »

Back to School

It’s that time of year again! Groggy teenagers are having the sheets pulled off of them as their alarms sound to no avail. The combination of coffee and carpool lines have been reintroduced into many of your lives. Meanwhile, at Atlanta Mission, our kids are literally jumping with excitement as they head back to school.

Atlanta Mission Kids Head Back to School

For some of them, this is the first time they’ve gone to school while living in a safe and secure environment. No more couch surfing. No more sleeping in the back of mom’s van. They’re eating three meals a day now. Our kids are being tutored and are receiving counseling. Their moms are in life skills classes, gaining more tools and wisdom to support and walk alongside their children. They’re receiving more than just an education. They’re receiving a transformed life.

You can be a part of this transformation. A gift of $10 a month helps to provide a quality education for our kids and a safe place to come home to. Become a Faithful Friend to children facing homelessness. Click here to find out more.

7 Tips for Engaging Homelessness While Throwing a Poké Ball

pokemon_featuredYou’ve left your house, smartphone in hand, and are exploring new areas in search of that rare pocket monster. Perhaps you are out of incense and Poké Balls and are walking through the city in search of a PokéStop oasis. Along the way, you encounter things you wouldn’t normally see, which is part of the fun of the app. In my case last week, it was a bird chewing on a worm…it was a special moment.

In your journeys downtown, you may come in contact with some of our friends experiencing homelessness. If you’ve never engaged with someone who lives outdoors, you may feel nervous or uncomfortable. But maybe, just maybe, this is an opportunity to get to know someone who was created with immense dignity but has fallen on hard times.

Tips for Intentional Engagement

1. Stay alert. Use common sense. Go with a fellow Pokémon trainer.

2. Bring an extra bottle of water to share if you do meet someone. It’s hot out there and a cold drink could make all the difference in the world to that person.

granola_bar_icon3. Soft granola bars are always great as well. Not only will they nourish you on your quest for Charizard, but they make a great snack for someone who hasn’t been able to get to the dentist in awhile.

4. Introduce yourself, hold out your hand, and ask for their name. Ask them where they are from. Questions like this offer dignity and value to someone who may not have frequent social interaction. See where the conversation leads you.

5. If you find yourself in what feels to be a threatening situation, it’s ok to leave.

6. Print out some of our referral cards to give to those who are looking for help. Our men’s and women’s facilities would love to come alongside and serve the friends you meet.

7. There’s a PokéStop in front of our men’s facility. Once you’ve loaded up for your travels, snap a photo with our logo and tag @atlmission on Instagram!



Happy hunting!