Tamara Carrera, who has led the Community Assistance Center since 1997, has announced her retirement.

Carrera plans to remain on board until a new CEO is in place, according to a press release.

Tamara Carrera, CEO of the Community Assistance Center. (Special)

CAC is a nonprofit that helps people at risk of homelessness and hunger in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. It is based in Sandy Springs’ North End. It was founded in 1987 by 10 local religious congregations of various faiths “looking to provide and centralize assistance to address growing poverty in the community despite the area’s developing affluence,” the release said.

According to the press release, Carrera was the driving force behind CAC’s growth from a small charity initially housed at a scout hut at the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church campus, providing food and clothing to about 280 families a year, to the go-to emergency assistance agency in the community serving more than 6,500 individuals a year from 3,000 households. The organization has seen a massive increase in demand during the pandemic.

Carrera joined CAC as a volunteer in 1993, and in 1997 was hired as its fourth director.

“Tamara’s outstanding leadership has put CAC on the national map as an exemplary model of a successful nonprofit assistance agency,” said CAC Board President Nancy Berger. “For 23 years, Tamara has championed the needs of our lower-income families and those who fall on hard times. She will be missed at CAC and in the community.”

The CAC’s board of directors “has been hard at work for over a year getting ready for this transition,” according to the press release. A formal search was expected to begin in early November.