July 20th marked the opening of Kids In Need for the 2015/2016 school year. Kids In Need is a “free store for teachers” that was founded in 2000 by the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The program provides school supplies to teachers from schools where 80% of students are enrolled in the federal free and reduced lunch program.
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The Atlanta Community Food Bank, which provides fresh, nutritious food to more than 755,000 Georgians facing hunger each year across greater Atlanta and North Georgia, has named Kyle Waide as its new President and CEO.
Waide has served for three years as Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Vice President of Partner Operations, leading the organization to record-breaking years of food distribution to the community. He follows Founder and Executive Director Bill Bolling, who announced in 2014 that he would step down from his position, following 36 years of leadership.
This school year, according to the Georgia Department of Education, some 1.1 million children were enrolled to receive free and reduced price meals. When these kids are released for summer break, their parents will be faced with the task of feeding their families without that support.
Did you know that May 25th is National Brown-Bag-It day? If not, I’m betting you’re not alone. National Brown-Bag-It Day is a simple observance reminding us that there is a more affordable and nutritious option than fast food to enjoy at lunchtime. It is also an occasion to celebrate and challenge our creativity and thriftiness! In my opinion, packing lunches has become a lost art. On a regular basis, I watch as friends and colleagues spend ten dollars or more on mid-day restaurant meals that are less nutritious than what could be brought from home.
When my mother, Jennie Tate Anderson, died in 1985, I was brokenhearted. I decided to do something for someone else in her honor. That summer, I began volunteering at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, sorting bread at first, then checking agency orders by hand.
When I first began the Atlanta Community Food Bank in 1979, people often said to me, “I hope you can work yourself out of a job.” And I guess in the beginning that was my simple goal – no more hunger in a land of plenty. It seemed like a reasonable goal at the time since 30 percent of what we grew and packaged was unmarketable, often being sent to the landfill. Maybe all we needed, I thought, was a better logistics system.
Hungering at a Deeper Level
My journey with the SNAP Challenge 2015 is over, but yours can begin May 10-17, 2015. Thank you in advance for highlighting this important issue to ensure all Georgians have access to good, wholesome and locally-grown food. As you embark upon your journey, I leave you with these tips and words of wisdom:
Georgia’s fertile ground and gardening weather is calling!
When was the last time that you went to bed hungry and it WASN’T on purpose?
Think about it! When it WASN’T on purpose. There are many reasons when it IS on purpose: We want to lose weight - We might have a surgery scheduled; or a colonoscopy. But when it WASN’T on purpose.
Every year 1 in 7 Americans go to bed hungry and it’s not by choice. It’s by poverty. Or circumstance. Or poor decisions, or none of the above; OR all of the above. Yet the fact remains that on that night, wherever they may be they are faced with another night of hunger.