‘Connection to Community’ event provides for those in need

Despite the blistering heat, crowds lined up for a home-cooked meal at the Connection to Community event at the Salvation Army of Augusta’s Center of Hope on Greene Street, July 29.

“Within 30 minutes, 150 meals were gone,” said Nomi Stanton, the executive director of GAP Ministries and the Salvation Army’s development chairperson.

Pernell Ministries provided the meals, and multiple agencies showed up to let people know about community resources. July’s theme was “back to school” with backpacks filled to the brim with school supplies being given away. Also, there was a new clothing and shoes giveaway.

Stanton provided information on the services GAP Ministries offers. They include prescription assistance, ID and birth certificate assistance, a food pantry and a diaper ministry.

Lisa-Ann Wheeler with the Georgia Department of Public Health shared information on free breast and cervical cancer screenings. In addition, the DPH program provides transportation to get the screenings.

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Medical College of Georgia students provided some health screenings such as blood pressure checks and gave people information on services available to them.

Also, Angela Bakos with Resourced Augusta was at the event. Resourced Augusta offers an in-depth listing of resources in Columbia and Richmond counties that help with employment, healthcare, mental health, addiction treatment, tutoring and other areas of need.

Bakos also conducts conferences where she connects nonprofits, so they know what other agencies are doing and can better serve their clients.

And representatives from the VA’s homeless program were also part of the July 29 event.

Derek Dugan, the Salvation Army’s development director, said there was good participation from organizations on July 29, but he said there’s plenty of room to expand the Connection to Community, which is held the fourth Friday of each month. He said he’d like to see the entire field next to the Center of Hope filled with people who want to help.

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People sometimes provide a meal to someone living under the bridge, which meets a temporary need, but by connecting with the Salvation Army and the other organizations, they can make a lasting impact, he said.

Anyone interested in participating in next month’s event should email Dugan at or call (706) 922-8369.

 Throughout the month of August, the Salvation Army of Augusta will hold a bedding drive to collect twin comforters and twin sheets for those in need.

“Bedding donations will be utilized at the Center of Hope emergency shelter, providing comfort and warmth to individuals during challenging times. They will also be distributed to clients who are transitioning into permanent housing and need assistance. Community members are asked to drop off their contributions at the Center of Hope, the Kroc Center, or any of our Family Stores between Aug. 1-31,” according to a news release from the Salvation Army.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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