May 28, 2023
Local Christian-based nonprofit The I-58 Mission has served 190,455 pounds of food within the last year to families in need in Coweta, Fayette, Spalding and Meriwether counties, according to Karhma
Local Christian-based nonprofit The I-58 Mission has served 190,455 pounds of food within the last year to families in need in Coweta, Fayette, Spalding and Meriwether counties, according to Karhma Nova, The I-58 Mission executive director.
According to Action Against Hunger, world hunger is on the rise after steadily declining for a decade. From 2019 to 2022, the number of undernourished people grew by as many as 150 million, which was driven largely by conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Action Against Hunger.
Serving Coweta and surrounding communities
Novak said she first began helping families in her home. She said she helped one mother who was in need, and the rest is history. She said her home, including her children’s rooms and garage, was full of donations to help others.
In June 2015, Novak became the director of operations for The I-58 Mission Inc. She said I-58 is based on the call of Isaiah 58 in the Bible.
“I-58 partners with the community to answer the call of Isaiah 58 to set the oppressed free, share food, provide shelter, and clothe those in need,” Novak said.
Novak said I-58 not only serves Coweta County, but also Fayette, Spalding and Meriwether counties.
“I believe God strategically placed us here,” Novak said. “We’re right here where these counties meet.”
Serving with love and compassion
Novack said I-58 strives to show love and compassion.
“When anyone comes in, we give them our best,” Novak said. “If we wouldn’t feel comfortable giving it to Jesus, we don’t give it.”
Novak said the only requirement to receive assistance from I-58 is proof of residency.
“We never know anyone’s situation,” Novak. “Someone may pull up in a brand new car, but they could’ve just lost their job. We’re here to help and show the love and compassion that Jesus has shown us.”
Novak also said that many of the volunteers will often pray with the clients. She said on Thursdays, a devotion is held from 10 to 10:30 a.m. There is music, prayer and a short message from a pastor.
Distributing food, clothes, and more
I-58 Mission not only acts as a food pantry, but the nonprofit also helps those in need of clothing and shoes (men, women and children), car seats, cribs, baby items, household appliances, small household items and even those who need help making their child’s birthday special.
“We have a birthday section where families can get birthday celebration items such as plates, tablecloths, candles, and other items,” Novak said. “They can even get cake mix to make a cake and pick out a toy for their child. If families can’t afford food, they more than likely can’t afford a birthday party.”
Novak said it’s important that those that I-58 serve feel loved and welcome, and not ashamed because they’re asking for help.
“While giving a tour one day, someone was telling me how shocked he was at how we treat people and make sure they keep their dignity,” Novak said. “A lady behind us was shopping and she said, ‘And if you don’t have it when you come, you have it when you leave,’ and that just melted my heart.”
The times for the food pantry and other services are listed below:
The food pantry opens at 8:30 a.m. on Thursdays for check-in, followed by fellowship and a devotional at 10 a.m. Only a driver’s license is required along with the completion of an information packet, if it’s your first time attending. The food pantry is first-come, first-served. When food supply is limited, there may be some limits on items. Pantry service ends at 2:30 p.m. The food pantry can be visited weekly.
The clothing closet and baby room is open by appointment only. To make an appointment, call 770-301-0870. The clothes closet can be visited once per season. At this time, adults may shop for five outfits and children may shop for 10 outfits, based on availability.
The home goods area is also available by appointment only. Call 770-301-0870 to set up an appointment.
Novak said that those in need may call to set up a time to pick items they may need if they don’t need an appointment.
How to get involved
Novak said that The I-58 Mission has two full-time staff members and about 51 volunteers that help on a weekly basis.
“We have a great group of people here,” Novak said.
She said donations can be dropped off Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., except holidays. I-58 is closed on Fridays.
As far as furniture and appliance donations, only appliances that are new or nearly new can be accepted. Mattresses, box springs and metal frames are also accepted, but there should be no holes or stains. Those who wish to donate should call the center to coordinate.
Novak said there is a need for furniture and within the last month, I-58 mission has donated over a dozen beds. She said those who receive a bed, also receive bedding items.
She also said The I-58 Mission served 100 students returning to school with supplies, shoes and more.
As far as how all of this is possible, she simply said, “God.”
“(God) has made all of this possible,” she said. “We don’t do any fundraisers; God just provides, and we partner with great people from the community.”
For more information about The I-58 Mission, visit thei58mission.org.Serving Coweta and surrounding communitiesServing with love and compassionDistributing food, clothes, and moreHow to get involved