Public/Private Partnership Pools Resources to Put Georgians Back to Work And Provide Five Hundred Thousand Meals to Atlanta Families This Summer
ATLANTA, GA, June 17, 2020 /Neptune100/ — The novel coronavirus pandemic has left corporate kitchens dormant or grossly underutilized, while growing unemployment is driving the city’s food insecurity numbers to unprecedented levels. Feeding America and the Atlanta Community Food Bank estimate that 16% of people in the 29-county service area of the Food Bank will be food insecure this summer. And, with school out for the summer, 26% of children, 1 in 4, could go hungry.
To address this staggering divide, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Second Helpings Atlanta have joined forces to launch the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project. This first-ever public/private partnership in the region connects hunger relief agencies with commercial kitchens with a goal to provide five hundred thousand meals to Atlanta families in need this summer. And this unprecedented initiative is being funded in large part by the city’s top corporate leaders who comprise the Atlanta Rotary Club.
“Atlanta’s business community has already been incredibly generous in supporting our efforts to feed the growing number of Atlantans during this crisis,” said Kyle Waide, President and CEO of Atlanta Community Food Bank. “With their support, we have grown our weekly food distribution 40% since the crisis began in March. The Atlanta Community Kitchen Project offers another opportunity for businesses to work with us to feed our neighbors, while also putting foodservice employees back to work. We’re so grateful for the business partners who have already committed to provide meals through this initiative, and we’re confident many more will join this effort.”
The Rotary Club of Atlanta initially provided $100,000 as one of the earliest supporters of the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project, enabling the distribution of the first 25,000 meals. Based on the initiative’s success, and in keeping with Rotary’s mission to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service, Rotary has further committed an additional $100,000, which is being matched by an anonymous donor coupled with another $100,000 matching raise, for a total of up to $400,000 to support the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project.
“The Atlanta Rotary Club fully supports the incredible work that the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Second Helpings Atlanta and their partners are doing to address food insecurity,” said Cannon Carr, CEO of CornerCap Wealth Advisors and President-Elect of Atlanta Rotary. “Through this new initiative, our club can help these key providers mobilize idle commercial kitchens to serve families and communities facing hunger, all while supporting wages for food service workers in this challenging period. Even as our local economy re-opens, many children and working adults will be left further behind, especially once government stimulus ends. It is time for us to do what we can to help fill a vital need.”
Additional supporters of Atlanta Community Kitchen Project include Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta Falcons and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena, Proof of The Pudding, Bold Events and Sysco Foods. These partners are firing up their kitchens and putting Georgians back to work to produce individually packaged and family-style meals that Second Helpings Atlanta will distribute to vulnerable, food insecure children and adults across the metro area.
“We’ve seen a huge spike in demand and these prepared meal programs using under-utilized commercial kitchens are helping address many of our community’s challenges in an innovative way,” said Andrea Jaron, Executive Director of Second Helpings Atlanta. “As the city’s leading non-profit organization rescuing surplus food and distributing it to those in need, we have a deep understanding of the inner workings of both the corporate and large event venue kitchens and the benefiting agencies, which enables us to quickly mobilize and make change.”
The Atlanta Community Kitchen Project taps into Second Helpings Atlanta’s fleet of drivers that comprise its complex supply chain to collect and distribute food from corporate kitchens to hunger relief agencies. This effort not only provides food to the hungry, it puts out-of-work service staff at commercial kitchens impacted by the crisis back to work.
The Atlanta Community Kitchen Project launched in early April in partnership with a handful of partners and began producing 900 individually packaged meals a day, seven days a week. The effort has grown every day since. As of June 12, more than 170,000 meals have been provided across the metro region.
“The statistics around the summer hunger crisis in the wake of the pandemic, especially for children in the metro area, are staggering. Partnering with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Second Helpings Atlanta on such an innovative and timely program to address these challenges was an easy decision for us,” said Andrew Cathy, Executive Vice President of Operations at Chick-fil-A, Inc. “The Atlanta Community Kitchen Project allows us, and other businesses like ours, to serve our community during this critical time of need.”
With the goal to build out and sustain the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project initiative, additional corporate partners are signing on weekly to help reach the goal of distributing 500,000 meals during the 10-week summer period, which kicked-off on June 1st.
“We have been a significant supporter of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and its mission for a number of years, but it has never been as important to take action as it is right now,” said Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena CEO Steve Koonin. “It is our responsibility and a privilege to be able to help our fellow Atlantans as we go through this.”
“Our organizations are built on core values that include taking care of our community by giving back in times of need,” says Steve Cannon, CEO, AMB Sports + Entertainment. “We are longtime partners with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Second Helpings Atlanta and know they strive every day to eliminate hunger in our communities; therefore, we are proud to open our kitchens at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and contribute to those children and families in need through the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project.”
The Atlanta Community Kitchen Project will complement the Food Bank’s Summer Hunger Program, a larger strategy for reducing hunger for more than 350,000 children who rely on free and reduced cost school meals in the five core counties surrounding Atlanta.
If you want to be a part of the Atlanta Community Kitchen, make a gift at engage.acfb.org/atlanta-community-kitchen.
If you are a corporate kitchen and interested in participating, please contact Andrea Jaron at [email protected]
Initial Investments and In-Kind Donations:
The Rotary Club of Atlanta has committed $200,000, making two gifts of $100,000 within a month! They hope to raise an additional $200,000, thanks to a generous challenge grant from an anonymous Rotarian. All gifts up to $100,000 will be matched in the next 30 days. Help support the Atlanta Community Kitchen with a gift today at: engage.acfb.org/atlanta-community-kitchen.
Atlanta Falcons and Mercedes-Benz Stadium will provide 50,000 meals to children and families in need through the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project.
Chick-fil-A has committed to providing 10,000 meals, utilizing one of its restaurant kitchens in Atlanta.
The Home Depot will provide 10,000 meals from its Atlanta headquarters corporate kitchens.
Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena will provide 10,000 meals to support kids and families this summer through the Atlanta Community Kitchen Project.
In partnership with the Food Bank, Bold Events and Proof of the Pudding will each provide at least 30,000 meals.
Project Isaiah has raised funds to contract Gate Gourmet to provide 45,000 individually packaged meals, which are being distributed in partnership with Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown, and the mayors of East Point, College Park, Fairburn, South Fulton and Union City.
ABOUT ATLANTA COMMUNITY FOOD BANK
The Atlanta Community Food Bank works to end hunger with the food, people and big ideas needed to ensure our neighbors have the nourishment to lead healthy and productive lives. Far too many people in our own community experience hunger every day, including children, seniors and working families.
Through more than 700 nonprofit partners, we help more than 755,000 people get healthy food every year. Our goal is that all hungry people across metro Atlanta and North Georgia will have access to the nutritious meals they need when they need them. It takes the power of our whole community to make that possible. Join us at ACFB.org.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Food Bank has grown our volume of food output by 40%, providing 2 million lbs of food every week, the equivalent of 1.7 million meals. Through the crisis, we have expanded food distribution programming to include weekly onsite distribution of food at more than 20 school sites, home delivery of meals to low-income seniors, distribution events in partnership with multiple city and county governments, and food giveaways with business partners targeting highly impacted industries such as restaurants and hotels.
ABOUT SECOND HELPINGS ATLANTA
Second Helpings Atlanta is a nonprofit food rescue logistics organization dedicated to reducing hunger and food waste in the metro Atlanta area by rescuing healthy, nutritious, surplus food and distributing it to those in need. Our network of over 120 food donors and partner agencies allows us to reduce food waste and food insecurity at the same time.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Second Helpings Atlanta has rescued nearly 500,000 pounds of food and now is also coordinating the logistics for meal delivery throughout the metro region.
For more information, please visit SecondHelpingsAtlanta.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.