“We are a community of people who want to help the immediate needs of the working poor, people who struggled with illnesses and job loss,” ministry Executive Director Helen Cunningham said Thursday to members of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods at its monthly meeting at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Buckhead. “We work with entire families on employment and money management skills.”
The ministry is a collaboration of 27 Buckhead-area churches but serves everybody, regardless of location or faith, Cunningham said.
“God is here and it is a joyful place,” she said.
Cunningham said some success stories include a man who was living in a car with his four children, and once he went through the long-term ministry program, he was able to manage his finances and find a place to live.
“BCM has a partnership with its clients,” she said. “Every client that comes here has to be working toward their own solution. They have to be as committed and dedicated as we are.”
The ministry has more than 300 volunteers who interview clients, work as a money management mentor, donate foods and goods, and help with fundraising. Cunningham encourages neighborhoods to start food and clothing drives for the ministry, and tool kits can be found on the ministry website: http://www.buckheadchristianministry.org/.
In other news, council members had a heated conversation about the recent Atlanta City Council vote to increase council members' salaries by about 50 percent in 2014.
Glenn Delk, who represents historic Brookhaven on the council, said he disagrees with the increase.
"I don't understand the rationale for a 50 percent pay hike for what's supposed to be part-time job," he said.
Council chair Jim King added, "The part that doesn't compute is city employees can't put food on the table while people who are setting their wages are getting a 50 percent [pay] increase. Not all boats are being lifted. It wasn't as well thought out as it could have been."
But council secretary Gordon Certain said he is in favor of the pay raise because it will attract more qualified people.
"It's ridiculous to pay them like it's part-time," Certain said. "You can get better people on the board if you don’t pay them stingy wages."