I AM bubble 2Erin Mullins Barger, MSW, Vice President of Programs

Erin first discovered her passion for service while working as a peer mediator and mentor with students with developmental disabilities while in high school. Soon after, while working her way through college, Erin further realized her life’s passion for engaging with and learning from people on the margins, when she had the honor of supporting adults with developmental disabilities to live full and inclusive lives. After graduating and working as a case manager with these same adults, Erin worked with refugee children and their families from all over the world, creating after school programming and growing as a nonprofit leader, becoming the Assistant Director in her second year. Wanting to fully engage as a learner in an unfamiliar environment, Erin served in the United States Peace Corps in China, where she volunteered in local orphanages and put her English major to work as a college instructor, teaching subjects ranging from American Culture to Thesis Writing. After two years in China, Erin earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Having her heart and sights set on nonprofit servant leadership, she also pursued a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership while at UNC-CH. Erin and her family settled in Athens where she began her Action Ministries career as Executive Director. Working with client partners from the Our Daily Bread Community Kitchen and other programs became one of the great joys of Erin’s life, as she learned the complicated nature and layers of poverty, as well as the tenacity and resolve of so many of the people who face it. She is particularly astounded and in awe of the resilience of children. Erin was honored to become the Vice President of Programs in 2014, through which she has the pleasure of supporting Regional Directors across the AMI footprint. Erin believes in her team and their wonderful gifts, the vision of Action Ministries, and the resurrection that occurs when people love their neighbors as God created us to do. Erin enjoys spending time with her husband, their sons, listening to good music and counting the many blessings God has given them.

Solomon Smothers, Regional Director

Solomon first came to Action Ministries as a member of the Athens Local Action Council and then served as the Smart Lunch, Smart Kid coordinator in the program’s inaugural year. Solomon worked with the NEGA Food Bank to coordinate agency relations for the Food Bank, helped organize the Food2Kids program and built his knowledge of program planning and community building while strengthening the Action Ministries Athens hunger relief initiatives. Solomon graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in communication studies. He and his wife, Lora, actively attempt to positively affect Athens. Solomon enjoys singing and songwriting, reading, Atlanta sports franchises, creating and appreciating art, “nerding out” (learning), boxing, video games, praying, spending time with family and listening to and serving disregarded people.

Zachary Burgess, Kitchen Manager

Zach is a native of Athens, where he attended grade school and graduated from Clarke Central High School in 1985. He attended Morris Brown College in Atlanta and Savannah State College, majoring in early childhood education. After graduating, he returned to Athens and began working with children who displayed varying learning and behavioral disabilities. After more than five years working in the school system, Zach started working in restaurant management at Zaxby’s, beginning as a shift manager and working his way up to regional manager. He next worked at Georgia Mentor Athens with special needs individuals as an activity therapist. Zach now serves Action Ministries Athens as the Kitchen Manager at Our Daily Bread, where he has immense respect for the guests and kitchen staff.


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