As we close out this crazy year, INtown decided we wanted to give a hat tip to the people, businesses, and organizations that kept us sane. We asked our readers to chime in with their suggestions on the people who went above and beyond to help the community, the restaurants and businesses that adapted overnight to the new normal, the arts group and artists who virtually entertained us, and the nonprofits and civic groups that came to our aid in a time of crisis. We’ve included Instagram, Twitter, and other social media accounts so you can show your support and thanks as well. Be sure to use the hashtag #20WhoMade2020Bearable.

1. Stacey Abrams & Fair Fight

The former Democratic Georgia congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate (@staceyabrams) is being widely credited with getting more people to the polls with her national voting rights organization (@fairfightaction). With Georgia flipping blue for President-elect Joe Biden, attention is now focused on two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia – between David Perdue (R) and Jon Ossoff (D) and Kelly Loeffler (R) and Raphael Warnock (D) – that could put the Senate in Democratic control.

2. Plaza Theatre
As the pandemic shuttered movie theaters around the world, the historic cinema (@plazaatlanta) at N. Highland and Ponce partnered with improv company Dad’s Garage (@dadsgarageatl) and movie rental shop Videodrome (@videodrome_atl) to provide an old-fashioned drive-in movie experience and streaming to film lovers at home.

3. Feeding the Hungry
As restaurant dining rooms closed, servers were laid off, and residents were furloughed, local nonprofits stepped in to help provide food and necessities for those in need. Our readers gave a grateful thumbs up to The Giving Kitchen (@givingkitchen), ATL Family Meal (@atl_familymeal), Meals On Wheels (@mealsonwheelsatlanta), Operation Feed (@operationfeedatl), Atlanta Community Food Bank (@acfb), and Georgia Organic’s Food Fight (@georgiaorganics).

4. YMCA of Metro Atlanta
The Y (@atlantaymca) reopened in May to provide socially-distanced activities, swimming, and exercise for kids and adults cooped up during lockdown.

5. Midtown Assistance Center
Residents unable to pay their rent, utility bills, food, MARTA cards to get to work turned to the nonprofit (@themacatlanta) based at Atlanta First United Methodist Church for help during the pandemic.

6. Local Musicians
Intowners missing live music were thrilled to see local favorites streaming live concerts and performances during the pandemic, including Yacht Rock Review (@yachtrockrevue), Chelsea Shag (@chelseashag), Ruff Lee (@ruffleemusic), David Berkeley (@davidberkeleymusic), and ATL Collective (@atlcollective).

7. Free99FridgeAtlanta entrepreneur and activist Latisha Springer launched the nonprofit (@free99fridge) over the summer to help combat food insecurity by placing community refrigerators in seven neighborhoods that are stocked and maintained by neighborhood volunteers, local farmers, and businesses.

8. Supermarket Workers

Intown’s supermarkets large and small – including Kroger (@krogerco), Publix (@publix), Whole Foods (@wholefoods), and Candler Park Market (@candlerparkmarket) – never closed during the pandemic and their dedicated staffs risked their health and patience to help keep the city fed. Hat’s off!

9 Healthcare Workers

The city’s overworked, exhausted but always dedicated frontline medical workers are forever in our debt. Our readers specifically pointed to care received at Grady (@gradyhealth), Piedmont (@piedmonthealth), Emory (@emoryhealthcare), and Northside (@northsidehosp).

10. MAMA Fund
The Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund (@mama_fund) continues to focus on funding Black, indigenous, and other peoples of color that that been impacted and endured hardships during the pandemic.

11. Neighborhood Joints
Intown restaurants and liquor stores switched gears to provide takeout, delivery, and event markets. Our readers specifically mentioned Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits (@toweratl), Six Feet Under (@sixfeetunderatl), Wrecking Bar (@wreckingbarbrewpub), El Tesoro (@eltesoroatl), Brash Coffee (@brashcoffee), Vinoteca (@shopvinoteca), Nakato (@nakatorestaurant), Java Jive (@javajiveponce), Ruben’s Deli (@rubensdeliatl), King of Pops (@kingofpops), Moe’s & Joe’s (moesandjoesatl), Agave (@agaverestaurant), Sun in My Belly (@suninmybelly), and Elemental Spirits (

12. Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation
The nonprofit (@atlfirerescuefoundation) arm of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (@atlantafirerescue) delivered hot meals, personal protection equipment, cleaning supplies, and helped repair equipment damaged during the summer’s demonstrations.

13. New Realm Brewing Hand Sanitizer
When all the supermarkets, drug stores, and convenience stores ran out of hand sanitizer, the brewery and eatery (@newrealmbrewing) started making their own and selling it at their BeltLine Eastside Trail window.

14. Art Beats ATL
When all of the city’s live theater, art, and concert venues closed during the pandemic, the arts groups joined forces to create a virtual calendar of streaming events (@artbeatsatl) to keep Intowner’s entertained.

15. State Farm Arena Voting
With all the concerts and sporting events on hold, Fulton County joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks to turn the arena (@statefarmarena) into a massive early voting site. Voters were in and out in a matter of minutes.

16. Book Delivery
Intown’s independent bookstores kept readers busy during the pandemic by offering delivery and shipping, including Charis Books & More (@charisbooksandmore), A Cappella (@acappellabooks), Bookish (@bookishatlanta), Eagle Eye (@eagleeyebooks), and Tall Tales (@talltalesbooks).

17. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Atlanta’s mayor (@keishabottoms) call for mandatory masks and citywide stay-at-home order put her at odds with state officials, but readers applauded her leadership during the crisis.

18. Streaming
We would have lost our minds without Netflix (@netflix), Hulu (@hulu), Prime (@amazonprimevideo), Disney+ (@disneyplus) and the myriad of other streaming networks keeping us in television and movies.

19. Mask & PPE Makers
When hospitals ran out of masks and other personal protective equipment, volunteers mobilized to make more – including a group who organized on Facebook and then took its appeal to the public through Local arts groups – including Alliance Theatre (@alliancetheatre), Atlanta Opera (@theatlantaopera), and Atlanta Ballet (@atlantaballet) – turned their closed costume shops into PPE assembly shops.

20. Teachers
After school systems went virtual last spring, Intown’s educators worked overtime to make adjustments for at-home learning. When some schools reopened in the fall, many teachers were pulling double duty by teaching in person and online. While having the kids at home was a challenge, our teachers kept students learning and engaged, and there’s not enough thanks in the world for that.

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Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.