“For many of the families we help, they have to make a choice — do they stay in their home or pay their utility bills?” said Tamara Carrera, the center’s executive director.
The center, which was founded in 1987 by eight congregations in the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody area, helps those in need who may have lost a job, are experiencing high medical wages or other loss of income.
It has a food pantry and a thrift boutique, provides financial assistance and hosts youth and holiday programs throughout the year.
According to Carrera, 26 percent of the Sandy Springs and Dunwoody residents helped by the organization last year were 9 or younger, and 8 percent of those helped were elderly.
Carrera said 50 percent of residents served were African-American and 38 percent Hispanic.
33 percent of those helped last year are single and 17 percent are single and the head of his or her household, she added.
“In 2012, we prevented 900 families from being evicted,” Carrera said.
800 of those families were in the same place six months after assistance, according to her.
Carrera said the center had a 60 percent success rate with those who received assistance.
Last year, the center’s total income was $1.65 million. $1.1 million was given directly to clients, according to Terry Hartigan, its treasurer.
$774,728 was received in cash, and $876,284 was received in in-kind donations.
Volunteers donated a total of 23,700 hours, which the board totaled to amount to $505,000.
Program and operating expenses totaled $516,350.
The center’s next big fundraising event will be the Food ‘n Fun Festival at Overlook Park at Morgan Falls May 19.
The event features a hunger awareness walk, a shopping cart decorating contest and sports activities.
“My biggest goal is to get a lot of teams,” said Pam Jones, the center’s development associate. “Summer is the toughest time for our food pantry, and food will be collected at North Springs United Methodist Church [for the event].”