At Central OAC, our purpose is to open doors to overcome and prevent homelessness.
It all began in a closet. The year was 1980 when a young woman named “Mary” knew she needed help. She had a place to live, but her minimum wage job did not provide enough income for her utilities and food. Her family was hungry, so she swallowed her pride and walked in the front door of a nearby church – Central Presbyterian.
She spoke with Rev. Joanna Adams who listened to her story and arranged for her to pick up some groceries for her family. From that humble beginning, the Outreach Center grew into a widely-known program, with its own large space, where dozens of people in need receive services each weekday. Perhaps the word which best describes the Center is evolving.
Central Presbyterian Church saw a need in their community and began to address it in the best ways they could. However, eventually realizing that the needs of those experiencing homelessness in downtown Atlanta and those at-risk of homelessness were too large for their church staff to address, in 1997 the Central Outreach and Advocacy Center hired staff and eventually became an independent non-profit.
Today, Central OAC continues to serve downtown Atlanta from the lower level of Central Presbyterian Church. Our agency has developed from an emergency food pantry to a church outreach ministry into one of the most well-known nonprofits in the downtown area. As we continue to grow and change with the needs of our community, we always strive to serve everyone that comes through our doors with the respect, kindness, and humility that “Mary” was met with nearly 40 years ago.
To volunteer or learn more about this ministry, please visit: https://centraloac.org/programs/