‘Love Atlanta’ volunteers leave lasting impression through partnership with The Salvation Army

By: Brad Rowland

The stated mission of Love Atlanta, an outreach of Passion City Church, is to inspire and mobilize people toward a lifestyle of service, all while changing the landscape of Atlanta through generosity. With that focus and an overarching desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus, a multi-year partnership with The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta has emerged, leaving a considerable imprint on many in the metropolitan area.

In 2021, Love Atlanta kicked off its week of service with a celebration at Passion City Church on Sunday, June 20, with projects in the works from June 21-26. Altogether, 270 projects were completed across the city, with more than 10,000 volunteer hours deployed. While The Salvation Army was not the only partner involved in the initiative, more than 280 volunteer shifts were coordinated with service at several Salvation Army locations.

Love Atlanta first coordinates through Passion City Church, setting up projects and then providing a sign-up apparatus for volunteers to claim shifts of their choice. From there, each shift has an on-site coordinator through Love Atlanta, working directly with Salvation Army units, and that ensures that the work is managed with an eye toward making an optimal impact.

This year, Love Atlanta volunteers helped in the kitchen at The Salvation Army’s Metro Atlanta Red Shield Services Emergency and Transitional Housing Facility, preparing and serving food throughout the week. Elsewhere, individuals contributed to Vacation Bible School in multiple settings, including Red Shield, Atlanta Temple Corps and Atlanta’s Adult Rehabilitation Center. Engaged volunteers also aided in service in Cobb County by helping with an ongoing day camp at The Salvation Army’s Marietta Corps, assisted with day center operations at the Atlanta Temple Corps, and helped with community outreach efforts in both Jonesboro and Doraville.

“One of the things Love Atlanta focused on in 2021 was projects that can be sustainable throughout the year, not just work that can be focused in a day-of scenario,” said Donna Roper, volunteer coordinator for The Salvation Army in Metro Atlanta. “They were really trying to focus on projects that can be ongoing, and they can return to with volunteers at different times. In some ways, it is an introduction to create volunteerism and encourage that spirit through what is a mentality of giving back. It’s a clear message for Love Atlanta and Passion City.”

In addition to the impression made in communities during this week of intentional service, several Love Atlanta volunteers have developed long-lasting relationships with The Salvation Army after making their first point of contact through the volunteer partnership. Plans will begin in the near future through the lens of 2022 and beyond, but the passion and vibrance of the volunteers undeniably leaves a profound influence on individuals, young and old, throughout the Atlanta area.

“They are so passionate and energetic,” Roper said. “I’ve seen it with all of their volunteers. They come in excited about the mission and about volunteering and being there. I look forward to it each year because of that passion. It’s a lot of fun, and I always feel confident that the work will be great and have an impact.”