8 Ways to Support FCS

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We know FCS is surrounded by dynamic and active friends who step up to the plate when we've needed it the most. Never has this support been more evident than when our offices were broken into last month and toys for our Pride for Parents Toy Sale were stolen. We were unloading replacement Amazon boxes for weeks! And we cannot say enough how grateful we are for a community that rallies behind our neighborhood and the families who live here. 

We cannot do the work we do without passionate supporters like you who care so deeply about meaningful restoration. As you consider your charitable giving for 2017, we invite you to create flourishing communities with us. Below are several ways you can participate in the transformation happening in Atlanta's most vulnerable neighborhoods. Thanks for your support!

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Creating Together in 2017

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by Jim Wehner

One of the first images we are given of God in the Scriptures is that of Creator. We serve a creative God. As we read along in Genesis, God is forming sky and water and decorating the landscapes with plant life. Animals are placed on the Earth and set free in the sea, and God’s hands dig into the dirt to form mankind. Creating, mind you, can sometimes be messy work.

The last few years at FCS, we have launched key initiatives and met some long term goals. We moved out of GlenCastle, the former Atlanta Stockade, and brought our team together in our focus neighborhood next to our local businesses. We’re coming up on two years of having run Carver Neighborhood Market, which is no small feat in a traditional business environment, but takes on special significance in our neighborhood. And, in response to years of requests for help, we launched The Lupton Center to provide training and resources in community development.

Looking forward to 2017, it’s exciting to think about what God is creating in South Atlanta this year and how we all have the opportunity to participate. We are eager to create together.

Creating Healthy Communities Together

As we dive into the details of our work in 2017, we are encouraged by seeing how our actions serve a broader impact on the neighborhood. Managing 45 mortgages, maintaining and leasing our 15 rental properties, and acquiring, rehabbing, and selling 12 homes in our workforce housing program all work together to create homes for 62 families. Meals will be cooked in the kitchens we gut and rebuild, and homework will be studied in bedrooms we paint and carpet. When families are given opportunity to own and maintain affordable homes, families are stabilized, blighted houses are transformed, and blocks become active and safe spaces for all.

Our economic development team will work on growing our customer base in 2017, increasing our average transaction rate, and dialing in our inventory numbers to ensure we meet our customer’s expectations. By focusing on these business indicators, we contribute to a healthy community by continuing to open doors for local employment (a first job for many neighborhood young people) and affordable access to produce and groceries. No healthy community can live on hot Cheetos alone!

But flourishing communities are more than good housing stock and local business. We know 2017 in South Atlanta will build on the legacy of neighborhood engagement with events and activities like our Halloween Treat Street, the South Atlanta Kickball Tournament, and our Pride for Parents Christmas Store. Neighborhood service providers and local families are gathering to participate in changes happening in our schools. And youth in the community will have opportunities to grow through local youth groups and our Bike Shop Ministry. These community building events create memories and camaraderie that bond residents to each other and the streets we call home.

We are thankful to be a part of what God is creating in South Atlanta, and I’m grateful for those of you that participate with us as neighbors, partners, and donors. 2017 is going to be a great year of creating together!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10

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5 Ways to Create Community Together

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As we celebrate a new year, we are reminded that building community is an ongoing effort. It involves everyone pitching in, trying new things, and being consistent with what works. After decades of moving into communities as intentional neighbors, we’ve tried more than a few community-building activities. Here are 5 ideas you can try in your neighborhood this year.

#1 - Start a Walking Club

Get together with a group of neighbors and make a healthy start to the new year! Last year, the South Atlanta Striders kicked off a weekly walking group, connecting several neighbors interested in this exercise. Walking is family friendly and accommodates a variety of fitness levels. Choose a time that works for most people, such as early morning before work, afternoons, or as they sun sets. You might even try a Saturday morning walking club. And hey, if you’re walking club decides to walk to the local donut shop as a group, why not?

#2 - Plan a Prayer Walk

Since we’re on the subject of walking, why not gather neighbors and do a prayer walk through your community. In South Atlanta, we have had different seasons where a Friday night prayer walk was joined by many neighbors. We picked a central meeting point, and walked through the neighborhood, praying for specific families, places, and community issues as we felt led. One prayer you could use to start off the walk is “Lord, give us eyes to see our community how you do.”

#3 - Community Dinners

Hospitality is a tried and true way to get to know neighbors. Keep the focus on the people and keep dinner simple. Crockpots of soup, make your own tacos, pancakes and eggs. Whatever works is perfect, and the relationships are the focus. You can also use these meals as an opportunity to foster directed conversations or learning together. Maybe serving something simple like rice and beans could be an intentional lead-in to a conversation about reducing our carbon footprint by eating less meat or sharing about a country where having meat is a privilege, not an expectation. Community dinners can foster lively conversation and deeper relationships.

#4 - Support a Local Classroom

Most teachers always have a wishlist of supplies they like to have for their classroom. Get together with a group of friends or your small group and ask a local school or teacher if there is one classroom that you could support. Pool your money, and go together to an office supply store to get a few items off their wishlist. While you’re shopping, share some of your favorite memories from elementary school.

#5 - Host a Neighborhood Activity

South Atlanta takes socializing seriously. And we’ve had events that require planning and some that have been more impromptu. Here’s a brief sampling to get your creative juices flowing! We’ve had basketball and kickball tournaments. We have an annual Halloween carnival and progressive dinner. Neighbors have hosted karaoke nights, neighborhood-wide sledding, and a Saturday pancake breakfast complete with old school cartoons. Once, someone set out a puzzle in Community Grounds, and everyone was invited to stop by and work on it over a few weeks. Find something fun to do and share it with your neighbors!

 

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