A bag is filled and labeled for participants of Rockdale Emergency Relief’s third annual Bags of Thanksgiving event that was held on Friday. The nonprofit handed out 50 turkeys and hams in additional to meals for families in need.
CONYERS — From structural renovations to a change in leadership, one of the longest-serving non-profit service organizations — specifically dedicated to serving Rockdale County residents — has undergone a series of changes this year.
But one thing that has not changed for Rockdale Emergency Relief is its mission to help underserved families in their time of need. It’s an effort that Sandra Jackson-Lett, the newly installed executive director for the Conyers non-profit, says has nearly doubled since the pandemic.
“I know my community, and I love my community,” Jackson-Lett said. “Whatever I can do to help my community, I am here for that, but we’ve got to have the manpower.”
From January 2021 to October 2021 the center served 1,390 residents, which includes giving out 48,642 pounds of food for new and returning households, seniors and children who were either experiencing economic insecurity, hunger, housing instability or homelessness. In 2022 the need grew by nearly 70% — the total amount of people served by the end of October averaging 2,369.
“We need the community to know that we are here and in need of their support,” Jackson-Lett said.
The Rockdale County nonprofit funds its financial and food programs through federal and community grants and donations made by area businesses and schools. The results show a larger increase in support during the holiday seasons, but there needs to be an ongoing goal to keep shelves full and the Oaks Drive facility open, Jackson-Lett said.
“It is truly nonstop,” Jackson-Lett said as she prepared volunteers for the third annual Bags of Thanksgiving event Friday. “DCA recently closed the portal so we have to put our head together to figure out what we can do.”
Rockdale Emergency Relief provides financial assistance for rent, light, gas and water and also provides a community food bank for those who demonstrate residency within the county. The nonprofit hosts Giving Tuesday, each Tuesday, to promote their goal to raise $300,000 in funds for rental assistance and utility assistance programs, as well as the community food bank.
Interested donors can mail or bring a check to Rockdale Emergency Relief at 350 Tall Oaks Drive in Conyers, or send a Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those interested in volunteering their time can contact the Conyers nonprofit at 770-922-0165.