In October 2012, Janice Dixon, became increasingly aware of the negative effects of the economic recession in her community. She had a vision to provide an extraordinary service for the Citizens of South Metro Atlanta, and she began to do her research while simultaneously developing her staff. Janice and her staff researched existing non- profit organizations serving their area with an emphasis in providing nutritional food. Although there were a few, all of them were associated with a religious organization. With that in mind, Janice also canvassed a few of her church members regarding their needs for food, and the available options to satisfy their needs. Once satisfied that there was a definite need with few options to actually combat hunger, Janice independently established Community Outreach in Action Inc. (COIA) as a 501c3 non-profit organization out of a small room in her church annex.
Although COIA is a young organization, Janice’s vision has steered the organization’s efforts toward rapid growth in the array of services offered, and the number of individuals served. By 2014, their widely popular, monthly Mobile Food Distributions produced an average of 103 volunteers providing food items to an estimated 1200 individuals on any given Saturday. By the EOY 2014, COIA had increased the number of community members served by 300% over 2013. On January 31, 2015 an astounding 2900 individuals were served in one day. Needless to say, they have already exceeded their established goal for the food pantry in 2015. Realizing that people need more than food to survive, COIA has expanded their services to include limited medical services, school supplies, flu shots, and Toys for Tots during the Holiday season.
With support from the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) leaders in their local school district, COIA began the Snack in a Backpack program in October 2014. This program offered snack bags to more than 600 students every other Friday, at a local elementary school. In 2016 they added 3 additional schools to this program. Their goal is to ensure that under-served school children receive the nourishment they need 7 days a week, throughout the school year.
In 2016, COIA will also partner with local law enforcement agencies in the Second Chance Program. This program focuses on giving individuals that were previously incarcerated a second chance to become productive, law abiding citizens. The participants will be offered enough food to last 2-3 weeks, laundry detergent and other household products to help them start over.
Janice graduated with honors and an MBA in Business Administration from Strayer University. Her labor of love has been widely recognized at the local and National levels:
2016 Pinnacle Leadership Award – The Fortitude Educational and Cultural Development Center
2015 Community Service Award – Praise Tabernacle Baptist Church
2015 Servant Leadership Award – Georgia Women’s Legislative Caucus
2015 Public Service Award- National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
2014 Gold Key International Honour Society – Strayer University
2014 Distinguished Community Service Award – Concerned Black Citizens of Clayton County
2014 Outstanding Leadership Heritage Legacy Recognition Award – Clayton County Ministerial Alliance
On May 01, 2015 COIA celebrated the Grand Opening of their 2400 square foot facility to better serve the community. As Janice would say, “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”