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One of the things we love most about summer at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) is the Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty. High schoolers from around our service area come together to learn more about these issues and, by the end of the week that they’ve spent with us, they go back to their communities armed with the knowledge and drive to make a difference.
50 students came together over three Youth Summit sessions; two hosted at our building and one at the Goodwill Career Center in Rome, Georgia. All of these students learned more about hunger and poverty with our Community Food Game, learned nutrition basics and volunteered in a variety of ways--in the gardens, mobile food pantries, a summer feeding site and more. There were visits to the State Capitol and discussions led by Senator Nan Orrock and Minority House Leader Representative Stacey Abrams. They watched “A Place at the Table,” a documentary on hunger in America and wrote to their congresspeople.
ACFB staff and interns are recharged by witnessing the students and their dedication.
“With my first Youth Summit I was unsure of what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at how genuinely excited the students were to help others,” said Brittney Palmer, our newest Education and Outreach Coordinator. “They were all great groups and I'm looking forward to next year's cohort!”
“It was awesome to see the energy and effort the participants put into both service projects and learning experiences. You could see the passion and genuine interest by the end of the week, which was incredibly rewarding,” said Yvonne Wagner, our Education and Outreach intern this summer.
“I look very much forward to the leading the Youth Summit and continue to be amazed at the diverse group of teens who come together to make a difference in the fight against hunger in our community,” said Chris Ferguson, our Education and Outreach Coordinator who leads the charge each time.
Each of the students commits to an Action Step by the end of the week--something that they’ll do to help educate those in their schools and communities about hunger. Some of this year’s action steps included:
- Bringing a group of friends to the Product Rescue Center to volunteer
- Building a community garden at an elementary school
- Holding a school food drive
- Organizing a student/faculty basketball/soccer game/fundraiser
- Developing a PSA for their school’s news show
We can’t wait to see the results!