Community Impact: Place of Seven Springs
On the northwestern shore of Israel’s Sea of Galilee, Tabgha is the location where many of the Bible’s New Testament activities took place, including Jesus feeding the multitude of 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The Hebrew word “Tabgha” is derived from the Greek name “Heptapegon,” which means “place of seven springs.”
Monetary donations given to Place of Seven Springs, including a recent $6,000 grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation, are used to provide emergency housing and food for Gwinnett County residents. The need, according to Founder/Director Debbie Dowdin, who opened Seven Springs in 2010, is huge.
“There are a lot of single moms out there and senior citizens who have to choose between eating or taking prescription medicine,” she says. “Insurance is outrageous, and mothers who are working two jobs still can’t make ends meet.”
Place of Seven Springs works to fill the gap by providing emergency financial assistance and food items. Through their partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Feeding America, they are able to supply more than 200 families every two weeks with food boxes laden with fresh meats, produce, cereal, pasta, potatoes and more.
In her time with the ministry, Dowdin has witnessed the multiplication of donations, much like the fish and loaves multiplied in ancient days.
“It’s amazing how our food bank has just exploded over the last year,” she says. “In the past year, it’s grown 70 percent as far as people coming to the food bank and by about 200 percent in the amount of food that’s being donated. It’s amazing, incredible; it’s all God.”
Along with biweekly food boxes and monetary assistance, Place of Seven Springs provides backpacks and school supplies for children at the start of each school year, a summer lunch program for students on free and reduced school lunch programs, and a Christmas giving program that enable families to purchase quality gifts for their children at extremely low prices.
Along with donations, what makes the ministry of Seven Springs possible is their onsite thrift store, a 7,000-squarefoot space chockful of donated items. Thrift store profits pay for the overhead to operate Place of Seven Springs so that all monetary donations they receive go directly to families in need, according to Dowdin.
“This is God’s ministry; I just work here,” she concludes. “We try to care for God’s children—and we’re all God’s children.”
Place of Seven Springs and its thrift store are located at 3541 Stone Mountain Highway 78, Suite 6, in Snellville.