The gift was part of the “Be Rich” campaign the church embarked on earlier this month as part of North Pointe Ministries challenge to churches to make a significant difference in their communities.
The churches gave $1.5 million in one day, impacting organizations throughout metro Atlanta. Because Watermarke, one of the seven participating churches, serves Cherokee, their portion of giving was designated for their community.
“Out of all the organizations we work with ... we really trust what you do,” said Watermarke Senior Minister Gavin Adams to the MUST Ministries team. “You use the money wisely, you do the right things, and you do it the way we would do if we were doing it — that’s one of our biggest criteria. You have the resources to do this and we don’t. We can provide the money and volunteers.”
According to MUST President and CEO Ike Rieghard, a portion of the gift will be used to build a much-needed drive-up drop-off point for donations at the new MUST facilities being developed on Brown Industrial in Canton.
MUST accepts gifts of food and clothing to help almost 11,000 a year in the Cherokee area. A drop-off area would make the donations of gifts in kind more convenient, he said.
Most of the money is designated to help sustain operational expenses.
The operations costs include programming for the Canton facility.
“We have costs associated with distributing the food and clothing, in addition to an extensive employment service program. Our training programs have helped put more than 1,400 people back to work through (our) ministry,” Reighard said. “So we are investing in the community and enhancing the tax base while helping people get back to work.”
The powerful aspect of what Watermarke is doing is partnering with existing organizations who are already at work in the community, but need support, Reighard said.
“They want to make a significant impact on their community, but they realize many organizations are already in place to do the work,” he said. “Those charities just need community money and time.”