Take A Stand Against Child Hunger This September
By: Michele Chivore, Director of Child Nutrition Program, Atlanta Community Food Bank
September is Hunger Action Month, a time of year designed to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that 41 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, are food insecure, according to the USDA.
Locally, the numbers are staggering—almost 600,000 children in the state of Georgia are food insecure, which means they don’t always know where their next meal will come from each day. That’s where the Atlanta Community Food Bank and our partners come in, as we work together to meet the meal gap for those neighbors in need in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia.
Last year, when the Atlanta Community Food Bank received a $380,000 Centennial Grant from The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc., we knew we could finally begin to ramp up efforts to build a great foundation for change in the lives of children and their families through our Child Nutrition Programs.
During our 2017-2018 fiscal year, we experienced great success and learned a few lessons along the way. The Food Bank was able to implement our School Breakfast Initiative in 18 schools throughout four school districts; Gwinnett, Floyd and Cherokee Counties as well as Marietta City Schools, where an additional 47,000 meals were provided to students as a result. The School Breakfast Initiative allows the Food Bank to work directly with school districts and schools to implement alternative breakfast models.
Additionally, we expanded our School Pantry Program which provides both shelf stable and fresh produce for families at partner schools. This past year we increased the number of participating schools from 18 to 27 and provided families with more than 495,000 meals. We delved deeper with our Summer Meals Program by working with non-conventional partners to serve as summer meals sites such as Aluma Farms, located on the Atlanta Beltline in Southwest Atlanta. Additionally, we connected 33 community sites to over 44,000 meals.
This September, during Hunger Action Month, we are asking our supporters to consider how it must feel to live with an empty stomach. For one in five children in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia the pain of going without food is made worse during the school day, when they are also expected to learn and thrive. Through the Food Bank’s programs, we are able to give children who struggle with hunger the peace of mind of not having to worry about their next meal.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank is only able to embark on initiatives like this because of support from our community, along with the generosity and foresight of The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. We look forward to another year of growth as we work to end hunger and grow stronger communities.
Find some great ideas about how to get involved in the Hunger Action Month Calendar here: https://www.acfb.org/hunger-action-month