High school senior Lanarion is excited about graduation and even more excited for what lies ahead. He’s college bound and gives much of the credit to Atlanta Community Food Bank partner agency Create Your Dreams, an exceptional youth development program for at-risk students. “It’s helped shape me to be the man I am today,” he said. “It comes down to two words: life changing.”
Mary recently experienced a job loss. The single mom received her bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College last year and is currently in the graduate program with Liberty University. She’s actively seeking a new job and is excited about some promising prospects, but she’s facing financial challenges in the meantime.
A Beacon of Light in Tough Times
I want to take a moment to share with you how grateful I am to serve as the new President and CEO of Atlanta Community Food Bank. It is the opportunity of a lifetime. The challenges and opportunities facing us have never been more exciting. Our future has never looked more promising.
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.
Those in our community who struggle with hunger aren’t always who you think they are. That’s something we say a lot at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and we see the evidence all around us.
“Hunger in America 2014,” a new study released by Feeding America, shows that 46.5 million people in the U.S are served each year by its nationwide network of 200 food banks, including the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Those served include 12 million children and 7 million seniors. That comes out to 1 in 7 Americans who turn to food banks each year for assistance.
I recently attended a reception and was introduced to a civic leader in the community. When she learned that I was the executive director of the Food Bank, she looked me in the eye and said she doesn’t like to support people who use food stamps because they buy things she views as unhealthy. When asked for examples, she mentioned soft drinks, snack food, beer and cigarettes.