Local ministry Mission 25 is jam-packed with clothes and ready to serve those in need, and its founders and supporters know there’s no coincidence it’s gotten this far.
Located in the Journey Church building off the square at 1140 Reynolds St., Mission 25 was started by the church after Journey lead pastor Chad Caldwell helped in the rebuilding effort in New Orleans and came back inspired to rebuild lives locally.
Mission 25 is named after chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and the goats.
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…," reads the New International Version of Matthew 25: 35-36a.
Journey, which was originally Passion Community Church, began Mission 25 last summer, but the clothing ministry didn’t take off until Darrell Franklin entered the picture.
Franklin suffered a mild heart attack, which forced him to slow down and change priorities. The day Chad Caldwell’s wife, and catch-all church assistant, Lori prayed for someone to run the ministry, Franklin offered his services.
He’s got the title of director, the kind of consolation one gets for a job that doesn’t pay.
He built shelves to store and hang clothes, he and a small band of volunteers keep the place organized, and he’s the one who’s there to accept donations and give out clothes during emergency situations.
The church used to open the ministry to the general public, but it now partners with The Salvation Army, which screens clients and refers them to Mission 25 to make sure those truly in need get free clothing.
Chrissy Busbee, assistant director of the Covington Salvation Army, said Mission 25 has been a great help. The Salvation Army also offers clothing, giving people in need up to five outfits per year. The only way a person can get more than five free outfits is in cases of a disaster, like a fire.
However, if people need more clothing later and aren’t in a disaster situation,, or if The Salvation Army gets low on clothing, which often happens in the fall before school and during the colder winter months, Mission 25 steps in to fill the void.
In addition, the Covington Salvation Army is generally only able to help Newton County residents, but Mission 25 can more easily serve people from Rockdale County.
The ministry is open to the public the third Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon.
Families who find themselves in emergency situations don’t have to go through Salvation Army — though the Salvation Army also offers emergency assistance — but can contact the church directly at 770-783-2220. Franklin will call them back to set up a time and place to meet that’s convenient for the family.
In addition, people also can donate clothes, or help with organization and sorting, from 5 to 8 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month. The church also accepts and gives out shoes, accessories, toiletries, stuffed animals and other items.
Whether it’s a boy who grinned from ear to ear after receiving an Atlanta Braves baseball cap, a man who got a suit for a business interview, or a woman who cried after receiving a new, complete bedding set, Franklin is continually encouraged by the people who are helped by the ministry.
"Things like that make you feel special," Franklin said. "We have an abundance of clothing now, because God has blessed us. We can help everyone from babies on up to adults."
For more information, call the church at 770-783-2220 or visit during the times it’s open.