Interfaith ministry nonprofit Midtown Assistance Center hosted its grand opening on Wednesday morning, inviting community members to tour the new facility.
Formerly located in the Atlanta First United Methodist Church’s basement, the Midtown Assistance Center is settling into its new location on Spring Street, situated directly across from The Varsity.
All Saints’ Episcopal Church offered MAC the Spring Street space earlier this year, after the Atlanta FUMC began utilizing their basement space to pursue local affordable housing efforts.
Jenny Jobson, executive director of the Midtown Assistance Center, said All Saints’ Episcopal Church has supported the organization for years and continues to serve as one of MAC’s loyal community partners.
The commercial space housed Goodfellas Pizza before the restaurant moved to its current location on the corner of 14th and State streets. The new facility offers more than twice the square footage of the previous location, increasing the organization’s workspace from approximately 1,600 square feet to 4,700 square feet. Midtown Assistance Center employees and volunteers spent the summer months renovating and supplying the Spring Street space, preparing it to serve the community in a larger capacity than was previously possible.
The Midtown Assistance Center is a product of five Midtown religious congregations joining forces with local nonprofit Midtown Alliance in 1986 to provide free resources to low-income Atlanta residents. Now, MAC garners the support of 11 local congregations, and is also supported by businesses and other religious organizations in the area.
The nonprofit offers a variety of services to lower-income residents struggling to afford the city’s consistently rising cost of living. MAC operates a fully-stocked food pantry available for Atlantans participating in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to use. Clients can make an appointment to pick up items from the pantry or place orders to be delivered to their homes or temporary dwellings through a partnership with delivery service DoorDash.
Moving to the Spring Street location allowed MAC organizers to increase their pantry space, permitting the organization to store more grocery and personal hygiene items long-term. Jobson said this increase in space also allows MAC to give each client larger quantities of food with each order.
The Midtown Assistance Center also increased the size of its waiting area and client services office, where clients meet with organizers to discuss their financial situations and needs. MAC’s previous location could only serve four clients at a time, while the new location can serve eight clients simultaneously. Clients can schedule appointments online or over the phone to meet with a MAC staff member and discuss financial assistance options, including aid in handling rent and utility payments.
Dorothy Chandler, former director of the organization for 24 years, said the Midtown Assistance Center’s new space creates more opportunities for the organization to serve the community.
“MAC’s philosophy has always been, ‘You want to do enough to really make an impact’,” Chandler said at the conclusion of the tour.
The physical growth of the Midtown Assistance Center pushes the nonprofit’s leadership to expand its outreach to other parts of Atlanta, as inflation causes previously affordable communities to become financially unattainable for low- and middle-income households. Jobson said that while MAC is growing in size, the mission of the organization remains the same.
“We’re not the same small Midtown Assistance Center that we were in 1986,” Jobson said. “We’re paying attention to where people are moving because affordable housing is the major crisis that’s facing the families that we serve.”
The Midtown Assistance Center accepts donations via PayPal and contributions via Amazon Wishlist.