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Gwinnett Coalition celebrates 20 years

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping and servicing the needs of everyone, celebrates 20 years with a reception for the community on Tuesday.

"We wanted to invite the community to dinner and honor special people who have really helped to support us throughout the years, those who continue to support us and new friends," Ellen Gerstein, executive director of the Coalition said. "It's an opportunity for us to thank the community for 20 years of support."

Gerstein has been with the Gwinnett Coalition since day one. For more than two decades she and the Coalition have helped millions of Gwinnett residents in times of need, created countless programs and organizations, and kept the coalition afloat through the tough economy, but she doesn't take any of the credit.

"I'm just the driver," she said. "Everyone who's helped with this work should be thanked, not me."

Every year, the organization receives 20,000 calls to its Helpline, where volunteers answer the phones and give information to the callers. They can help with anything from where to find baby formula to the closest food bank.

The team of five which works in the office are very passionate about what they do for the community and enjoy helping others.

"The excitement of the Coalition is that it reaches a very big wide ranging section of the community from a CEO in a business to a housewife in a trailer park," Suzy Bus, Helpline director said. "Since I've lived in the states for the past 10 years, this is the most fulfilling job I've ever had. In terms of my own personal development and personal growth, it has been very fulfilling."

There is only so much work the office can handle, which is where the community comes together to help a lending hand. Gwinnett County government, Primerica, Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, volunteers, sponsors, local schools and many others give their time, labor and donations to the nonprofit, which the Coalition is grateful for.

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have participated over the years," Bus said.

The Gwinnett Coalition invites those in the community who have helped them throughout the years to attend the "Because You Rock" Reception on Tuesday.

For those who are interested, register a spot online at gwinnettcoalition.org.