Restoring Dignity to People’s Lives 4

Must Ministries Serves Thousands in Crisis

The remarkable extent of Must Ministries accomplishments serving thousands of people in crisis in Marietta, Smyrna and Canton started small in 1971. Since then, generations of leadership, volunteers and donors turned Must’s all-inclusive “wraparound services” into the top-rated organization it is today. 

Ike Reighard, president and CEO, stresses the alarming demographic seen on their homeless shelters: 74 percent are women and children. Recent economic challenges, gentrification and the housing market collapse had an impact on former donors becoming recipients. The staff of 65 remains operational mainly through the dedication of volunteers, who support those they respectfully call clients via four services: shelter, food, clothing and employment.

“Must’s underpinning is not charity, but parity,” he says.

In 2017, 86 percent of homeless clients transitioned from shelters to stable housing, including veterans. 

Last year, 402 clients were employed through Must’s employment and job certification program; while their two-burner prep kitchen supplied 273,815 meals to 7,193 children, who otherwise would had gone hungry out of classrooms if not for the Summer Lunch Program.

Must’s strong fiduciary ethic shows in the numbers: “Eighty-four cents out of every dollar is spent on programs,” Executive Vice President Chris Fields says.

You can help fellow Cobb County residents overcome hardship by “Donating money, time and things,” as Vice President of Marketing Kaye Cagle summarizes it. Donated clothing, toys and household items benefit clients and are sold to the public at the group’s thrift store as a source of revenue. In 2017, 202,831 items of clothing were given to 11,126 people.

Donated food keeps its food pantries going. In 2017, 604,588 pounds of groceries were distributed to families from Must food pantries.

460 Pat Mell Road SE, Smyrna, GA 30080 | 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday–Friday | 770.436.9514 |