The organization entrusted local artist Gabriel Fernández to create a mural to be placed inside the new space. Photo by Janelle Ward/The Atlanta Voice

The Mary Hall Freedom Village hosted its grand opening celebration on Friday morning, where members of the community gathered to dedicate and officially open the organization’s new facility located in north Sandy Springs.

The mission, which first opened its doors in 1996, offers a variety of restorative and rehabilitative services to local women and children experiencing homelessness, struggling with disabilities or addiction and veterans following release from military service.

Lucy Hall, founder and CEO of the Mary Hall Freedom Village, said she and her team were prompted to move into a larger space following the uptick in mental and physical health complications caused by the pandemic in 2020. The organization’s new facility features enough space to accommodate several combinations of families and offer a slew of both mental and behavioral health services to those in need.

“And so as God would have it, He moves us into our next purpose,” Hall said. “And so now, we’re excited to gather to actually dedicate this building and to look at what its purpose is for.”

Local religious leaders spoke of the significance of organizations like the Mary Hall Freedom Village, and how its efforts should continue in order to benefit the communities surrounding them.

“Every kid who goes to church or Sunday School or temple, the teacher says to them, ‘Where is God?’, and the kids are conditioned to say, ‘God is everywhere’,” Rabbi Spike Anderson of Temple Emanu-El said during opening remarks. “But we have one rabbi… who puts an ellipsis on the end and says, ‘God is everywhere that you let God in,’ and that is what this place is.”

Ron and Vicki Canakaris, major donors and namesakes of the building’s family services center, cut a ribbon signifying the official opening of the space. Hall also recognized the Spalding Garden Club, who invested in the organization by providing trees to decorate the facility.

“It’s one thing when people sow seeds of money,” Hall said. “But it’s another thing when they sow seeds of time and talent.”

The organization entrusted local artist Gabriel Fernández to create a mural to be placed inside the new space. Fernández and Hall unveiled the painting during the opening ceremony, which features Hall and her mother, the nonprofit’s namesake.

Hall thanked her staff, donors and supporters who helped to catapult the mission to the position it assumes today to assist needy families.

“And we know that it’s not about just the paycheck,” Hall said. “It is truly about making a difference in people’s lives.”