Orchard is not just an organization, it’s a movement of people who want to see a world where Christ is known by the actions of His followers.   

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am an Atlanta native who has been a part of the Orchard family from very early on in its inception. I am now retired from working for 12 years for Kroger Co. as the Community Activities Coordinator. This included fund-raising for hospitals and charities, partners in education, United Way and other locally supported charitable organizations. I have since been involved with Orchard as a volunteer, a ministry leader, board member and staff; becoming the Associate Ministry Manager for Orchard in 2001 and recently retiring in January 2020.

How did you first hear about Orchard?  

Judy Burge serving with families at New Hope, an ESL ministry Orchard supported

My initial connection to Orchard (formerly Atlanta Community Ministries) was through the church that housed them, Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, where I am a member. There I was introduced to founder Dan Hayes who, with Orchard’s help, was supporting an ESL program in the community. I began to volunteer as one of the ESL teachers and eventually took on the ministry, called New Hope. We helped teach English and train childcare workers.

How does Orchard address the issues most important to you?   

After traveling the world with my father, I learned how valuable learning the English language truly is, which is how I came to be a part of the New Hope ministry. This was my intrigue but once I started serving with Orchard, I valued the focus they placed on serving those of difference races and economic backgrounds. Orchard was not only serving those in need, but they were preaching the Gospel along with evangelism and mission work. These things are very significant to me and my faith. 

Why do you think other people should support Orchard?  

I don’t know of any other organization that serves such a wide and diverse group of people as Orchard does. When I sit down and look at all the ministries and populations we serve and all the needs that Orchard meets, it’s amazing! True needs are being met by our ministries. Orchard has always maintained the highest reputation – it’s always been trustworthy, always done what it said it would do. The integrity that we have maintained for these last 25 years has been exemplary and very much in the keeping of Christ and Christian beliefs. Even with a change in leadership, I see the same qualities being continued at the center.