Mondays for the community: A woman takes it on herself to feed Atlanta’s homeless

Every Monday, the homeless population of Hurt Park gets a special treat from the non-profit organization Soul Sistas Run Inc. The group hands out free pizza slices in the heart of campus for whoever walks up.

Pamela Whitfield, the founder of Soul Sistas Run Inc., said the reason she started Soul Sistas Run three years ago was because she saw a need to help the homeless in Atlanta.

“I’m not sure if I’ve seen as much of an initiative [to end homelessness] as I would like to. I do think that this city has spent a lot of money frivolously, like the new train [Streetcar],” she said. “Those efforts could have gone toward building a shelter, or toward building up a community that’s boarded up or helping people get off the street.”

Whitfield said the work of helping the homeless, especially homeless veterans, hits close to home because her husband is in the military. According to Action Ministries, Inc., there are approximately 2,766 homeless veterans in Georgia.

Whitfield said the next goal is to open up a shelter. She said she plans to take Soul Sistas Run to the next level by opening an apartment complex in Atlanta that specializes in helping to rehabilitate homeless people back into society. Soul Sistas Run hopes to establish a year-long program that caters to re-inventing homeless families and homeless veterans in 2018.

The apartment will be a sense of independence, each furnished, bathroom, kitchen ,TV, and a sense of privacy for all tenants. We will offer classes to help [the homeless] become gainfully employed [with] resume writing, job placement and child care services as well,” she said.

The program will require licensed therapists for all tenants along with drug counseling and rehabilitation.

“We want to change lives. To get as many people and families off of the street that we can. Help them get the job skills that they need to thrive, survive, to prosper,” Whitfield said.

On Oct. 1, Soul Sistas Run provided food, clothing and toiletries to over 500 people with the help from the local fire department and Kennestone Hospital in Hurt Park.

“The most exciting thing we had was the portable shower. We [also] had clean clothes, socks and underwear,” said Whitfield.

Atlanta Fire Department Station 6 and Kennestone nurses were also there to support Soul Sistas Run by aiding the homeless at Hurt Park. Whitfield told The Signal there was a man who suffered from high blood pressure that day and was able to receive the medical attention he needed promptly.

“The fire department said, if they had not had that event he probably would have died. Our event saved someone’s life,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield also told The Signal a lot of people feed on the weekends, such as churches, sororities, fraternities and other non-profit organizations.

“Typically we are at the park every third Saturday of the month. After our anniversary, we decided to start coming out on Mondays as well,” said Whitfield.

The organization has been to New Orleans, Washington D.C., and San Francisco to serve the homeless and do other charitable works in addition to participating with Comcast Cares in community projects.

Each member of Soul Sistas Run pay dues in the amount of $240 per year to help fund their charitable works. Also, the organization receives a $2500 grant every yearly from Level 3 Communications, a multinational telecommunications and network service provider company.

Soul Sistas Run does most of its fundraising, according to Whitfield, through an annual Golf Tournament held in August and an annual Black Tie Gala in December, as well as work concession stands at the Georgia Dome during Falcon games.