Homeless for the Holidays: Students can use the holiday break to give back

Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal
Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal

When the holiday break commences, not everyone has a home to go to. And even when there is a home to go to, some may find it more fulfilling to create holiday cheer for someone else.

In the greater Atlanta area, there are food banks and organizations to keep the holiday season a warm and a fed one. SPARK: Reproductive Justice Now is collaborating with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition (AHRC) to provide outreach to the homeless and hungry population.

Alissa Robbins, a senior Georgia State student and the office adminstrator for SPARK, is in charge of coordinating a collection in partnership with the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition for the colder holiday months.

“SPARK Reproductive Justice Now will be collecting cold weather clothing, blankets, hygiene products as well as non-perishable food items to donate to a Thanksgiving dinner for homeless individuals and families,” Robbins said.

Hosted by the AHRC, the Thanksgiving dinner will be on Nov. 25 for homeless individuals and families. The dinner is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At the SPARK office, donations and gifts to be given out at the dinner are currently being taken. The timeline for the offerings will continue until Nov. 24.

“Students can get involved by donating everyday items that they may have already lying around the house,” Robbins said. “Our goal is to get as many donations as possible and to make a positive change in their lives.”

“Despite their circumstances, homeless or impoverished individuals are just like you and I, they just so happen to be in a situation where they cannot help themselves because of certain barriers or situations that put them there,” Robbins said. “We can easily end up in their situation at any given point in life. In celebrating the holidays and the spirit of the season, it is a great way to extend that spirit and joy to those who are not as privileged or fortunate as some of us are. It’s a great way to spread happiness and hope to those who may not have any.”

A woman hands out food to the local homeless community in downtown Atlanta. Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal


Where to Give

SPARK: Reproductive Justice Now:

A collaborative outreach that seeks to find reproductive justice in Georgia and the greater South.

They are accepting donations now to be dispersed at the Thanksgiving dinner.

250 Georgia Ave SE

Suite 207C

Atlanta, Ga, 30312


Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition:

A community-based organization that commits to improving the health and wellbeing of marginalized groups.

The dinner will be held here and the donations will be distributed.

1231 Joseph E. Boone Blvd. NW

Atlanta, Ga 30314


How to Give

Any items you think would benefit the homeless or displaced community is welcome, but more specifically the community looks for:

  • Coats
  • Jeans
  • Sweaters
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Scarves
  • Gloves
  • Socks
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Pillows
  • Shoes
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Women’s hygiene products (pads, tampons, pantie liners)
  • Any and all non-perishable food items

The dinner itself is in need, so the event on Nov. 25 will require volunteers.

“For the dinner we need volunteers to set up, clean up, serve and distribute food, put together hygiene kits, organize and distribute the collected items as well as simply interacting with our guests,” Robbins said.

If you would like to volunteer, email Alissa Robbins alissa@sparkrj.org or SPARK offices at 404-331-3250. Walk ins are also acceptable, there will be a sign-up sheet waiting.

There will also be a Volunteer Orientation on Nov. 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Pick Your Passion

There are charitable organizations across the city to spend the holidays with, but here three places that might end up on your list.

Nicholas House

PO 15577

Atlanta, GA 30333

Phone: 404-622-0793

A transitional house for homeless and displaced families. Nicholas House not only has shelter, but it provides counseling, case management and assistance with parenting and other services targeted to strengthening the family unit and getting them back on their feet.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Cooking the daily dinner meal.
  • Helping out the children with after school tutoring.
  • Throwing activities together for the families.

If interested, contact Nicholas House and reference their volunteer page.


Atlanta Community Food Bank

732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd. NW

Atlanta, GA 30318

Phone: 404-892-9822

The Atlanta Community Food Bank is a place for homeless and in need to get fed. They obtain more than 60 million pounds of food and groceries each year and gives it to more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies.

Volunteer opportunities can be acquired at the individual and group level:

  • Collecting donations
  • Stocking and restocking food
  • Helping out events that the Community Food Bank provides food for or sponsors.

Atlanta Mission: My Sister’s House

921 Howell Mill Road NW

Atlanta GA 30318

Phone: 404-367-2465

My Sister’s House is Atlanta Mission’s homeless shelter for women or for women with children. They offer overnight shelter and programs.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Food Service
  • Reading with children
  • Gardening
  • Hosting a “Ladies Night Out”

Atlanta Mission: The Shepherd’s Inn

165 Ivan Allen Blvd. NW

Atlanta, GA 30318

Phone: 404-367-2492

The Shepherd’s Inn is Atlanta Mission’s male homeless shelter. They provide hot meals, showers, shelter and more.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Food Service
  • Receptionist
  • Barber Services
With colder weather approaching, Atlanta’s homeless community is in need of food and clothing donations to endure winter’s harsh conditions. Photo by Dayne Francis | The Signal