Access to food, especially healthy food options, is a problem faced in many metropolitan areas, including Atlanta. According to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, an estimated 755,400 people in metro Atlanta and north Georgia rely on food pantries and meal service programs each year. Furthermore, almost one in four Georgia children live in food insecure households—their household lacks consistent access to adequate food.
Childhood hunger has direct negative impacts on academic performance and attendance.
Due to food security concerns among students, Woodward Elementary School of DeKalb County Schools implemented a new initiative to keep students and their families healthy by improving access to healthy foods.
Beginning a year ago, school staff members began a nutrition program supported by the Atlanta Community Food Bank School Mobile Food Pantry that provided monthly food distributions to students at Woodward. Families participating in the program are provided with 20 to 40 pounds of nonperishable food items, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables with each food distribution.
The first food distribution reached more than 300 students and 181 households from the Woodward Elementary community. The food distributions have been strategically scheduled during parent meetings to encourage more participation at the school. During the monthly meetings, school staff members provide parents with pertinent school related information and distribute the food.
Staff and parent volunteer efforts make the distributions possible. Diana Mitchell, an English for Speakers of Other Languages, or “ESOL” teacher at Woodward, said the students get excited when they see the flyer about the next distribution date.
To learn more about Woodward Elementary click here.
To learn more about the Atlanta Community Food Bank click here.