Photo by Heather Middleton
By Jeylin White
For 50 years, Clayton County Family Care, a homelessness prevention agency in Jonesboro, has offered temporary financial assistance to "needy" families throughout the Clayton community.
Nowadays, however, in this "tough" economy, it's becoming "increasingly difficult" for the organization to provide assistance to the increasing number of families seeking financial help.
"We service about 300 families in Clayton County, and we help assist them with rent, mortgage, utilities, prescriptions, and vital records," said Clayton Family Care Executive Director Jana Szeto. "We consider ourselves to be a safety net for the community and for families experiencing really difficult times."
Szeto said her organization is generally funded through the United Way, along with a cross section of private donations, and philanthropic donors. However, she added, it's important to come up with other fund-raising methods to help sustain staff, and financial-assistance programs.
"I think, now, nonprofits have to be even more astute on how they partner," said Szeto, "They need to partner not with just other nonprofits, but with larger public and private entities to accomplish their work.
This is why CCFC decided to put together the "Concert for Care," which will kick off this weekend. The concert, Szeto said, will help raise funds for all CCFC programs and services, as well as raise awareness about CCFC's contributions to the community.
The money from the concert will allow the organization to focus on ways to look at larger self-sufficiency programs for families, to increase their own capacity in moving forward, so they won't fall back again into hard times, she said. "Right now, Clayton Family Care has a limit of $300 for financial assistance it can provide for each individual, but we realize families may need additional assistance," said Szeto. "There's a definite need. With the economy that we see, bills double or triple."
She said, while the organization's $300 cap on assistance will keep it from giving the families more money, the proceeds from the concert will allow it to assist more families. "Clayton County Family Care is not attended to be all things to all people, but we are here to help families through short-term gaps to get them back on their feet again," she said.
Marie Barber, who sits on the administration board for CCFC, said she hopes the concert will help bring awareness and funding for CCFC, and that the community plays a big role in making this event a success. With the sour economy, she said, all nonprofits and small businesses are going to have to learn to sustain themselves, and one of the ways for a nonprofit to do that is through increased, but focused fund-raising.
"This is the reason why Clayton County Family Care came up with the concert," said Barber. "What we're doing is raising more money so we can meet the needs of the community better."
However, Barber said, the event could not have been done, without the assistance of Mike Twomey, president and executive director of the Morrow Business and Tourism Association. "He really helped out a lot with putting this concert together," she said. "We knew with his expertise, this would turn out to be a great event."
"Clayton County Family Care has been in existent for 50 years, and a lot of people did not know about it, and all the good this organization does needs to be out there." said Twomey. Signature events, [such as this concert], will help bring CCFC to the forefront of the community, he said, and give people the opportunity to know all the resources they offer, to help benefit families in need of assistance.
"CCFC handles every genre of life throughout Clayton County, especially now in these tough economic times." said Twomey, "I believe we are seeing a lot more need, and it is every demographic."
Twomey said the concert will feature a variety of popular music from the 1950's, and music by the Atlanta-based cabaret singer, Robert Ray, and his production company, Robert Ray Productions. "The concert will touch on a variety of music genres from R&B, classic rock, gospel, and country," he said.
Barber said CCFC has two more fund-raising events planned for this year -- a golf tournament in September, and a fashion show in October.
The Clayton County Family Care "Concert for Care" will be held this Saturday at 7 p.m., at the National Archives at Atlanta Amphitheater, located at 5780 Jonesboro Road in Morrow. The tickets are on sale for $30, with an additional $10 fee, to reserve a two-top-table. Tickets can be purchased at the following locations:
* Clayton County Family Care, located at 1000 Main Street, in Forest Park, (404) 213-5868.
* Heritage Bank of Forest Park, at 822 Main Street, in Forest Park.
* Heritage Bank of Jonesboro, at 101 North Main Street, in Jonesboro.
* Morrow Tourism Center, at 6475 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow, (770) 968-1623.