The Turner Aftercare and Reentry Program (TARP) provides housing and transitional support to homeless returning citizens recently released from jail or prison, and it provides outreach and referral services to non-residential clients, their families, and the community as a whole. The goal of our program is to ensure a safer community for all Cobb County residents through the reduction of recidivism by aiding returning citizens in becoming law-abiding, responsible members of our community and providing housing assistance, thus preventing possible homeless returning citizens.
This program, which began in 2006 as The Harmony House Program, closed down during the pandemic. As of February 2021, Harmony House served 361 returning citizens through its residential program, provided 15,979 bed nights, and assisted 1,600 persons through its outreach and referral program. Reopening with the New Horizons CDC, TARP will be re-launched through the direction of its creator and former program director Harden Perry. We hope this innovative program will become a model program that is duplicated nationwide. Please visit www.thetarp.org to read more about this outstanding second chance program.
The Marcus Mission Center is a food and clothing pantry located in Marietta, Georgia. In partnership
with Turner Chapel AME Church, The Marcus Mission Center (under its former name) has been serving
the community for more than twenty-five years. From January 2022 through June 2022 alone, 324
families have been served (922 women, men, and children) with a distribution of 22,961 lbs. of food.
Mission: to end hunger and poverty by providing support through the Mission Center and
partnering with state and federally funded programs to make lives better throughout out Cobb County.
In 1995, Betty Barksdale saw a growing need in our community. She began collecting food items and
distributing them from her car to those in need. In 1997, the Turner Chapel AME Church offered her a
small white house at 527 Lawrence Street to open an official food pantry, and she asked volunteers to
assist her in collecting items and running the pantry. They called the pantry The White House. When the
need in our community continued to grow, Ms. Barksdale solicited the Women’s Missionary Society to
man and manage the White House, which they began doing in 2000.
Each year from 2000-2017 the number of families that we assisted rose each month. We had lines on
our porch each week and worked within our means to solicit healthy food options and reduce the
the number of persons we had to turn away because we ran out of food.
In 2017, the White House experienced electrical and plumbing concerns that made the house
inoperable. The missionaries and our pastor, the late Rev Kenneth Marcus, put together a plan in 2018,
to rebuild a larger and more efficient facility to support our community. While funds were raised, the
pantry moved to our old church at 548 Lawrence Street and operated on Sunday’s following service. We
then moved and operated from the church counseling center at 480 N. Fairground from June 2019-
In January 2022, after many years of raising funds and conducting a lengthy building project, we opened
the Marcus Mission Center (named after our beloved Rev Kenneth Marcus and his wife, Cassandra
The pantry never closed, even during the COVID Pandemic. We practiced all of the recommended
safeguards (wearing masks and gloves and weekly sanitation) to ensure our patrons and volunteers
were safe. Even with the loss of some of our more senior volunteers due to safety protocols, our small
group of diligent and energetic volunteers continued to make a big difference in our community.
Partnering with Panera Bread since 2015, we are able to supply fresh bread. Our local boy scout and girl
scout troops and members conduct annual can food drives. We also work with the local Post Office
to participate in the Annual Can Food Collection to meet the growing needs of our patrons. Our Seniors
and volunteers collect personal care items (toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo,
conditioner, combs, brushes, and feminine items) to make personal bags for the holidays. Our generous
congregation donates new and gently used men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing for our patrons for
back to school, for job interviews, or for the basic needs of families and individuals who are transitional or
have suffered a loss due to hardships. With limited grocery stores and fresh food availability, we have
also partnered with local growers and harvesters to provide fresh seasonal produce each week
throughout the summer and fall.
Currently, we are open on Wednesdays 1 pm-3 pm and Saturdays 10 am-2 pm. Each month, we are
serving 50-65 families, distributing 3,500-4,500 lbs. of food. We are seeing our numbers increase each
month as we advertise our program within the congregation, though local agencies, and through the
Atlanta Community Food Bank.
This incredible volunteer effort to address food scarcity and hunger has made a tremendous
contribution to our community over the last 25 years. From a humble beginning to a multi-year building-
fund drive, to keeping its doors open throughout the pandemic, these volunteers have proven their
commitment to this program. Turner Chapel AME Church continues to donate both funding and the in-
kind contribution of the building.
Our program manager, Paula Turner West, is the Women’s Missionary President for Turner Chapel AME
Church. She acts as the face of this project, and she builds relationships with local agencies, churches,
and community leaders. She also prepares community service and volunteer reports. She will continue
to donate her time.
Supporting & Empowering Survivors of Domestic Violence
To provide a safe haven and the resources necessary to facilitate the transformation and the transition of women and their children who have been victimized by domestic violence.
Restore House will provide a fully furnished transitional home to many families, facilitating the care and support needed to assist them with successfully navigating a new productive beginning. The temporary home allows those suffering the effects of domestic violence to reclaim their equilibrium, live free from abuse, and begin anew to pursue their family and career dreams.
The program includes:
- Transitional Housing
- Legal Advocacy and Resources
- Life Skills, Parenting, and Financial Management Training
- Counseling & Community Support Group
- Job Training
The Meals of Compassion (MOC) Ministry
The MOC Ministry ministers to the hungry of Cobb County by meeting their physical need for food.
In 1998, Davette Harvey (a volunteer with the Turner Chapel AME Church Women’s Missionary Society) contacted the Turner Chapel Evangelism Ministry Purpose Head, Rev. Harden Perry, to request assistance with serving a lunch meal at the MUST Ministries Elizabeth Inn Campus located at 55 Elizabeth Church Road in Marietta on Saturday, January 2, 1999. Following that meal, Rev. Perry was contacted by a MUST Ministries representative who wanted to know if Turner Chapel AME Church would commit to preparing and serving a hot meal on an ongoing basis. Rev. Perry discussed this with several Evangelism Ministry volunteers who agreed to prepare and serve a hot breakfast on the first Saturday of each month under the leadership of Mary Perry. This volunteer effort started on February 6, 1999.
After about a year of serving breakfast at MUST Ministries, the MOC Ministry was presented to the Turner Chapel AME Church Official Board and identified formally as a Turner Chapel AME Church ministry. About that same time, MUST Ministries contacted Mary Perry to ask if the MOC Ministry could prepare and serve a hot meal on one Sunday each month. Even though she knew it would be difficult to get volunteers to commit to preparing and serving breakfast on a Sunday morning, Mary was able to find several committed volunteers, and the fourth Sunday of each month was selected as the second breakfast to be prepared and served each month by the MOC Ministry.
The MOC Ministry members have consistently prepared and served a hot breakfast to guests in the MUST Ministries Elizabeth Inn Homeless Shelter since February 1999. Normally, there are five or six volunteers, led by Mary Perry, serving each breakfast. The volunteers meet at the MUST Ministries Loaves & Fishes Kitchen at 5:30 am to begin preparing the hot breakfast, which consists of scrambled eggs, grits, sausage patties, salmon croquettes, pancakes, biscuits, and orange juice. Breakfast is served at 6:30 am at the MUST Hope House homeless shelter to approximately 50-55 guests and other MUST Ministries volunteers.
The MOC Ministry also participated in hosting a community Thanksgiving Day dinner in November 2014 and prepared and served dinner at the YWCA in Marietta to children from the Battered Women Shelter. The MOC Ministry also participated in the MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program for several years.
MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program
The MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program provides nutritious lunches each summer for thousands of children in the Metro Atlanta Area during the months of June and July when many children are uncertain when they will receive a meal because their primary food resource, the school cafeteria, is closed. For several years, the MOC Ministry participated in the MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program by providing lunches each week during this period of food insecurity. The MOC Ministry plans to resume participation in the MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program by providing enough food for five days of breakfast and lunch for 500 children during the months of June and July.
A Blessing to Everyone
The residents of the shelter and their children who the MOC Ministry serves are not the only ones blessed by the works of the MOC Ministry. The MOC Ministry members and other Turner Chapel AME Church ministries who volunteer, say that “God truly blesses them as they do the work that He has called us to do by feeding and being a blessing to so many in need.” The members of the MOC Ministry believe that the services of this ministry uplift people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Receiving a hot, nourishing meal allows people to search for employment or
housing and to take care of their families without being preoccupied with hunger. This benefits the entire community.
Volunteering: Food and Fellowship
The MOC Ministry invites other Turner Chapel AME Church ministries and other individual volunteers to serve with us as we continue to partner with MUST Ministries at their new Bells Ferry Road facility. New members and volunteers are always needed, and we look forward to our work and fellowship together in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As of 2022, MOC Ministry has ten regular participating members who serve breakfasts for approximately 50-55 guests, twice a month, at MUST Hope House Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions:
On what days and at what time do volunteers have to be there?
The MOC Ministry volunteers prepare and serve a hot breakfast on the first Saturday and fourth Sunday of each month in the MUST Hope House Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen. Volunteers arrive by 5:30 am to begin preparing breakfast.
How much time is involved?
Breakfast is served at 6:30 am. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to prepare and serve breakfast. The kitchen cleanup is taken care of by onsite community services workers and other volunteers.
Do you have to serve each month?
Volunteers can serve once a month or several times a year, basically, whenever they are available. Do you have to be a member of Turner Chapel Church to volunteer? No, you do not have to be a member of Turner Chapel AME Church to serve breakfast with the MOC Ministry.
For more specific information regarding the MOC Ministry, contact Mary Perry at (404) 798-3740 or email:
The Turner Chapel Meals of Compassion has operated for almost two decades of dedicated service to the community providing weekend breakfast once a month. MUST ministries has provided a summer lunch program for 2022 to help children as community outreach. Meals of compassion has partnered with Must ministries in 2022 to be a part of their program. New horizons CDC wishes to build on this program model and will seek funding to provide summer meals as a resource to the community from New Horizons CDC.
The Young Family Community Resource Center teen parenting program enables teen mothers to achieve their fullest potential through structured programs that teach them various life skills while providing them with the support and services to complete their high school education.
The program provides seven essential program services for teen parents:
- Free childcare for teen parents working toward completion of their high school education.
- Confidential peer counseling.
- Child development education.
- Parenting education and skills (for teens mothers and dads).
- Sexual purity education.
- Career development and life skills.
- Information on available community resources.