Five years ago, Grace Fellowship Church members Geoff Rushing and his wife, Connie, were called to go beyond their normal volunteering at the local food bank. God led them to start a food distribution ministry for the Athens-Oconee area.

Now, their seed of good will has taken root and grown into City of Hope Athens, a nonprofit that partners with the Clarke County School District, local businesses and other organizations to distribute food to those in need. In May alone, City of Hope gave out 2,938 weekend food bags for children. On those distribution days, it helped serve 5,634 lunches.

“We always had a heart for children who lived in severe poverty in the Athens area,” said Geoff. “This is what we wanted to get started in the next year or two, but we had no clue it was going to start this early and at this scale.”

Between 30 and 50 volunteers assist the Rushings with City of Hope. The organization provides meals for those living in homelessness five days a week, as well as for children and families experiencing poverty two days a week. The organization also provides clothing and job training for people who are homeless, as well as school uniforms and supplies for students.

For more on this story, see the June 18 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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