SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Most non-profit organizations need all the help they can get. Two in Savannah are helping each other, creating opportunities for inclusion, and in turn, feeding the homeless.
Once a month at Emmaus House, Timothy has some very specific jobs to do. He’s a part of Employability’s Community Access group program, which provides volunteer opportunities and community integration for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and also allows them to help non-profit organizations across Savannah.
“They know, ‘oh we’re going to Emmaus House to help the homeless,’ or, ‘we’re going to the Salvation Army to put the cans in the pantry so they can feed the hungry,” said instructor, Monique Gibbons, Employability Community Access Group. “They can give you a rundown of their schedule. They know on Monday, we do Meals on Wheels, and they enjoy doing Meals on Wheels.”
At Emmaus House, the Employabilty volunteers break down large boxes of various treats and pack Friday Bags that the soup kitchen gives out in place of a hot meal on Fridays.
“They’re just takeout bags that folks can take three or four or five, and it kind of helps them get through the weekend,” said Ariana Berksteiner, Emmaus House, Executive Director.
Before the partnership with Employabity, Emmaus House did not have the manpower to fill the bags, and often had to turn down affordable bulk items that help stock their pantry.
“Now, we have a whole group of people who can come in and break those items down for us, so we do have an opportunity to make these Friday bags nice and bulky.”
They have a partnership that goes beyond people helping people. It’s one group of misunderstood, overlooked people, helping another group that is often misunderstood and overlooked.
“We love the fact that we are able to connect two segments of the population that are sort of disenfranchised and not really looked at, and we’re able to connect them and do good in the community. I think it’s beautiful, and they’re fantastic. The group that comes every month, they’re just such hard workers and they’re so funny and they have such beautiful personalities individually. It’s just a joy to have them here.”
There are six different groups comprised of six individuals each participating in Employability’s Community Access Group Program. Last year, they provided more than 1,000 volunteer hours to dozens of non-profits.