The Homes for the Holidays program eases the financial strain of furnishing a new home by supplying basic necessities, including furniture, appliances, and pantry items. Fully stocked pantries come complete with dry and frozen foods, meats, bakery items, produce, dairy items, paper products, and classic holiday dishes. By helping to allay the costs of basic necessities, the program helps increase parents' discretionary income for other expenses such as afterschool care and doctor's visits, and gives families a foundation of nutritious foods to help them establish healthful eating habits.
Since banding together in 1979, the historians at Atlanta Preservation Center have helped ward off packs of angry bulldozers from more than 175 endangered buildings. Working alongside local government, businesses, and community leaders, the preservation team has saved elaborate structures including the Peters House and Winecoff Hotel. In addition, its headquarters—the 1856 Grant Mansion in Grant Park—is one of just three antebellum houses left in Atlanta and the team is currently working to restore the building to its architecturally accurate origins. When it isn’t keeping delicate treasures from crumbling, the Atlanta Preservation Center leads walking tours of historic areas and tells embarrassing stories from the days when the city’s buildings were just a bunch of baby bricks.
Piedmont Park preserves the luxury of yesteryear. Designed in the late 1800s, the park's facilities have withstood the test of time with recreational halls that reflect the simplicity of its lush landscapes, and wetlands. Over the past 20 years, the Piedmont Park Conservancy has restored the park to its historic natural beauty, transforming a dilapidated space into a frequented green space. A slew of activities engage the community with outdoor programs ranging from environmental day camps to team sports such as soccer and softball. Park tours explore the history of the neighborhood and the weekly Green Market whets appetites with fresh produce from local farmers and thieving rabbits.
The Phillip Rush Center has become the literal embodiment of its name. Having evolved beyond a mere building, the space has become the central gathering place for the Atlanta area LGBT community. This massive venue is not only a home to 10 LGBT non-profits, but also a space used by dozens of allied groups including Just Us, SAGE, and Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth. These organizations host everything from yoga and movie screenings to advocacy campaigns and training sessions for social service agencies, weaving a supportive net of assistance and social opportunity for the LGBT community. The Center goes above and beyond, too, providing referrals for housing, conducting youth empowerment workshops, and running HIV testing—anything community members need to improve their lives.
A trio of volunteers—Ami Ciontos, Liz Henderson, and Jillian Udelson—has a special place in their hearts for pit bulls. They founded the Atlanta Bully Rally in honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day, exposed a fraudulent pit-bull rescue group, and organized fundraisers to sterilize and rehome pit bulls. As part of the Atlanta Underdog Initiative, they spend their spare time protecting pit bulls and finding them adoptive homes. When the three discover bully-breed dogs in dangerous situations, they step in to rescue the dogs and then find them adoptive homes with responsible and well-educated pet owners. They also care for local pit bulls by delivering dog food and flea care to owners, driving dogs to veterinary appointments, and vaccinating puppies against diseases.
Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption (APRA) rescues and rehabilitates cats and dogs that have been neglected or abandoned. Since its inception, the volunteer-based, no-kill shelter has rescued more than 15,200 animals, providing them with essential care and affection. Staff members test the animals for temperament and treat any curable medical conditions; animals with special needs are sent to foster homes where they can receive ongoing treatment. Through APRA’s enrichment program, the staff provides positive reinforcement as cat and dogs socialize in communal spaces with outdoor access—helping make transitions to forever homes as seamless as possible.