Hunger is a serious and pervasive problem in North Georgia touching every county, neighborhood and community. The numbers are revealing: an estimated 755,400 (or 1 in 7) people in metro Atlanta and North Georgia turn to Food Bank partner agencies for food. Of those numbers, 1 in 5 are children.
By 2025 all hungry people in our service area will have access to the nutritious meals they need, when they need them, and where they need them.
“My neighbor knew we needed food and brought me to Malachi’s,” said Tracy. “If we didn’t have the pantry, I’d probably have to work three jobs.”
Malachi’s Storehouse, a partner agency of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, provides groceries for 250 families like Tracy’s each week. Tracy works at a restaurant in the evenings, but doesn’t always have the financial resources to feed herself, her mother and her son, Kenny. “The food we get at the pantry is wonderful,” said Tracy. “We get meats, orange juice, cereal, pasta, spaghetti sauce, dairy, and fresh produce. It’s a tremendous help when you have a growing boy in the house. He eats everything!”
Kenny is, in his own words, “a big fan of the outdoors.” He enjoys cooking over an open fire on camping trips with his Boy Scout troop and loves vegetables. His favorites are roasted asparagus and carrots.
“If I had the chance to talk with someone who supports the Food Bank and the pantries, I would thank them,” said Tracy. “Because of you, we have the means to survive and move on with our lives.”
Tracy now volunteers at the pantry every Wednesday. “I was so grateful — I wanted to pay it forward,” she said. “It’s a great feeling to know that you can help somebody else.”
Katreina has lived off and on in the neighborhood near the Atlanta CommunityFood Bank since she was four. The Salvation Army Bellwood Boys & Girls Club, a summer feeding partner of the Food Bank and a staple in the neighborhood, has been there for her family. “When we were growing up, they always provided some kind of meal,” said Katreina. Her daughter, a college student, attended the Club after school, and her son attends now.
A couple of years ago, Katreina lost her job. In the six months it took to find work, the Boys & Girls Club helped feed her kids. “Meals weren’t what they used to be, so the Club providing them something gives you a little relief, knowing they did eat,” said Katreina. Even when she had her prior job, she struggled to make ends meet. “I used to do the math. Once I pay rent, the car note, medical insurance and utilities, I wouldn’t have money left to go to the grocery store.”
Katreina is grateful for the Club, not only during the school year, but during the summer when they offer breakfast, lunch and snacks. She volunteers there and sees the effects of having nutritious meals available. “There are some kids, that’s the only meal they receive. A lot of kids are left at home with nothing to eat, so to be able to go to the Club and be a part of the summer program, they know that’s a meal,” said Katreina. “It’s a blessing because those kids need to know that someone cares. You’re changing the lives of our future.”
In 2009, Canveta had a job she loved and was in the process of adopting her second child. But soon after the adoption was finalized and she took in foster children, she was diagnosed with cancer and had to leave her job to focus on treatment.
Through disability, Canveta struggled to feed her children. A friend connected her to Urban Recipe, a partner agency of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. At Urban Recipe, Canveta was able not only to find food, but also fellowship with the other members of the co-op. As she got more involved, they offered her a job as an administrative assistant, and then a place on the board. “I think without Urban Recipe, a lot of families would starve. They gave me more than just a job. They made me feel like I belonged to something; they gave me ownership.”
The holidays at Urban Recipe are memorable for Canveta. As members of the co-op, they meet bi-weekly and, during the holidays, they make it festive. “We get to have Secret Santa and potluck where families bring what they want to bring. We sit down, and we do a fellowship piece where we share things and eat” After the meeting is over, members go home with their grocery items. “They make sure that everybody at least gets something for the holidays and that we can come and get food that can last us through the holidays.”<.p>
This season, Canveta will stick close to home, spend time with her children and enjoy a delicious holiday dinner. But she doesn’t forget where the food comes from and how grateful she is to have it. “I think you don’t realize that you touch [so many] people’s families. I was at the brink of starvation and the Food Bank has saved so many lives.”
Laura, her husband Jeff, and their four kids moved to Georgia for an opportunity that didn’t end up working out. They had to rely on hotels and the hospitality of others before Jeff was able to find a job and they could get into affordable housing.
Their relief didn’t last long, however – Jeff suffered a heart attack before Christmas at the age of 40 and was unable to work. “Our family was put in a really tough spot,” said Laura. “We didn’t know what we were going to do. Do we buy food? Do we pay our bills?”
To complicate things further, two of Laura’s children have health issues and allergies that affect what they can eat. Her husband is also on a special cardiac diet. Thankfully, the family found help at Covington First United Methodist Church, a partner agency of the Food Bank. “The best part about that food pantry was that they had fresh bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, and frozen meat,” said Laura.
Laura has been able to have some peace of mind thanks to Covington First UMC and the Food Bank. Her family is getting back on their feet and she is starting work with a local nonprofit board, which could turn into a paid job.
“When you put a can or something in a box and send it off, that can make people smile,” said Laura. “It gives them some comfort, some peace. You just think you’re donating to a food bank. You’re donating to a family. You’re helping preserve a family — helping give a family hope which is what we really all need.”
The current home of the Atlanta Community Food Bank was originally designed to accommodate the distribution of up to 40 million pounds of food each year. Yet in 2017, we distributed more than 70 million pounds of food, and this growth is only expected to continue. For us to reach more people, something needs to change.
The Growing Healthy Futures campaign will enable the Atlanta Community Food Bank to fully harness one of our most abundant assets — food — in order to build a stronger community where none of our neighbors will go hungry, and all of us will have the opportunity for a healthy future.
Located just inside I-285 off of Camp Creek Parkway in East Point, the future home of the Food Bank provides 346,000 square feet of space that will enable us to nearly triple the volume of food we source and distribute today.
We envision a hunger-free community, but we need additional tools and support to make that happen. With your support, here’s how we intend to close the gap in fighting hunger in North Georgia.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank’s ability to end hunger depends upon a robust network of partner agencies throughout our service area that make it possible for us to connect families in need with the right food, in the right place, at the right time.
Investments from the Growing Healthy Futures campaign will enable the Food Bank to develop, evaluate, and replicate programmatic models aimed at helping working families increase food security and household stability, with the goal of reducing their need for food assistance over time. The centerpiece of this effort is the Food First Pantry initiative, currently operating in two partner agency test sites. Instead of relying on emergency food assistance as a last resort, clients at a Food First Pantry site are encouraged to use the pantry for as much of their monthly food needs as possible for a period of one to two years, freeing up their limited income for other basic needs such as housing, utilities, healthcare, and childcare. Over time, our goal is for families to build greater household stability and self-sufficiency for a brighter, healthier future.
Ada Lee and Pete Correll • The James M. Cox Foundation • J.B. Fuqua Foundation • Georgia Power Company • Georgia Pacific • The Home Depot Foundation • Homrich & Berg • The Imlay Foundation • Sartain Lanier Family Foundation • Medtronic • The Rich Foundation • SunTrust Foundation & SunTrust Trusteed Foundations • The Tull Charitable Foundation • The William Josef Foundation
Thomas and Kay Aderhold • Fred and Jere Brady • Chris Burns • Phil Carlock • Dan Dupree • First Communities • Rob Johnston • Virginia Love • Debbie Millwood • Marc Pollock • Perennial Properties • Stonemark Management • Francine and Philip Tague • Warshaw Properties, Inc. • Jerry Wilkinson
Ellen Bailey • Martha and Toby Brooks • Mr. and Mrs. Eric K. Busko • Steve Cannon • F. John Case and Cynthia O. Case • Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Cathy • James and Celest Dallas • Rene and Barbarella Diaz • Louisa and Michael D’Antignac • Marti Fessenden and Suzanne Schultz • Dan Gordon • Mitch Harrison • Mark Holifield and Kim Semple-Holifield • Kakarala Foundation • Sue Kolloru • Robby and Kim Kukler • Levisay/Saliers Family • Matt and Laura McKenna • Todd and Linda McMullen • Mario G. Montag • Mary S. Moore • Michael A. Newton • Proof of the Pudding • Natosha R. Rice • Margaret and John Stagmeier • Andrew W. Stith • Michael Stogner • Lesley and Trey Wainwright • Elizabeth T. Wanamaker • Jeffrey Wojtkowiak
We believe the Growing Healthy Futures campaign will have a transformative and multi-generational impact throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia. By investing in the Food Bank at this pivotal time, you will enable us to dramatically increase our impact and our ability to grow healthier futures for generations to come. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people in need that the Atlanta Community Food Bank helps feed each year, thank you for your support of the Growing Healthy Futures campaign.
Steve Cannon, AMB Group
Ingrid Saunders Jones, The Coca-Cola Company, retired
Andrew Cathy, Chick-Fil-A
Campaign Committee Members:
Martha Brooks, Harley-Davidson, Inc
Louisa D’Antignac, The Glenn Family Foundation
James Dallas, James Dallas & Associates
René and Barbarella Diaz, Diaz Foods
Ed Fisher, SouthPointe Ventures, LLC
Dan Gordon, formerly with City of Atlanta
Ashley Grice, BrightHouse Consulting
Rob Johnston, First Communities
Steve Koonin, Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena
Lesley Wainwright, Turner Broadcasting
Jerry Wilkinson, The Wilkinson Group