At its inception, Clarkston was one of the first commuter towns on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. Divided by the same railroad tracks that once carried workers from the suburbs into the city, this small town of over 12,000 people has taken on many forms over the years. From historic Black churches that have hosted civil rights leaders, to Vietnamese Buddhist temples, to one of the largest mosques in the Southeast, Clarkston is a diverse melting pot of experiences and beliefs. Adding to this history, in the early 1990s Clarkston was identified as an ideal area for individuals and families resettled to the United States through the ever-evolving refugee resettlement program. With people from over 120 different cultures, it has been called "the most diverse square mile in the United States." It is this diversity, and 30-year history of welcoming new Americans that has earned this quiet town the moniker of “Ellis Island of the South.”
Currently, our team has been collaborating with local non-profits, ministries, and government to address the crisis related to COVID-19. To date, in collaboration with an army of volunteers and concerned neighbors, we have assisted in distributing over $263,000 in financial assistance to families struggling to pay rent, distributed over 10,000 face masks to every apartment complex in Clarkston, and facilitated the creation of a community resource database that is being used by non-profits, community health educators, and community members to help people find the support they need to survive in the pandemic. It has been endorsed by over 25 different organizations and businesses.
Additionally, while COVID-19 has created challenges to meeting, we help facilitate a local ministry association aimed at bringing Christian ministry leaders together to grow in their awareness and appreciation of each other's work.