When the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to pause their normal operations, food banks opened their doors wider to help support communities in need.
This includes the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The organization works with more than 700 nonprofit partners to feed more than 700,000 people every year. Thanks to a grant from UnitedHealthcare, the food bank and its volunteers are now expanding that reach.
The $250,000 grant allowed the food bank to purchase emergency food during COVID-19 and open its first Community Food Center (CFC). The center is located in Gwinnett County and serves as a food pantry, distributing shelf-stable food, vegetables, meats and dairy directly to local families.
The food bank chose this particular location because Gwinnett County has a food insecurity rate of 9%, including nearly 27,000 children. The pandemic has worsened the situation, with food insecurity rate projections now at 14.3%.
“This grant has helped the Atlanta Community Food Bank keep meals on the table for seniors, children and families across the community,” said Marcus Robinson, UnitedHealthcare vice president of sales and account management. “When community members have access to these resources, they are healthier, and our communities are healthier.”
The CFC also doubles as a distribution hub between the food bank and its partners, helping food pantries conserve time and transportation costs to deliver supplies to individuals sooner. According to the food bank, the center is expected to distribute 650,000 pounds of food in the first year, which is enough for more than 500,000 meals.
“Providing greater access to healthy food is the reason why we are opening the Community Food Center,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of Atlanta Community Food Bank. “We’re excited to be able to help more of our hungry neighbors in need.”