The Atlanta Community Food Bank, serving Atlanta and north Georgia, has a vision for everyone in their network to have access to nutritious meals by 2025. Serving 29 counties and over 755,000 people each year, the Atlanta Community Food Bank works with more than 600 non-profit partners to end hunger.
One partner the Atlanta Community Food Bank has been working closely with is the Georgia Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, which serves pregnant and nursing women and children from birth to age 5. Research shows participation in WIC may improve diet throughout childhood and lower rates of obesity over the lifespan.
While approximately half of the babies born in Georgia each year are enrolled in the WIC program, participation rates have been declining. In order to increase participation in services offered by WIC and the Food Bank, the two organizations have formed the WIC Working Group to evaluate and research best practices from across the county, and set shared goals for outreach and enrollment.
"We know that investing in early childhood nutrition is a powerful support for health and wellbeing over a lifetime,” said Lauren Waits, director of Government Affairs for Atlanta Community Food Bank. “With funding direct from the federal government, it only makes sense to extend WIC services to all eligible families in Georgia, providing the meals to alleviate food insecurity today, and giving each family the information they need to nourish their children in the months and years to come."
Members of the WIC Working Group include leaders from the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Maternal and Child Health Division and WIC Program, as well as child-focused organizations such as Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Together these organizations have been working to gather consumer perspectives on program strengths and opportunities for improvement by conducting focus groups with families who are eligible for WIC but are currently not enrolled. This report will be available in December.
Raquel, a single working mom, uses WIC to help provide her son Daniel, 20 months, the nutritious foods he needs.
In addition to the WIC Working Group, the Atlanta Community Food Bank also has a Nutrition and Wellness Program to teach people skills to prepare healthy meals and bring awareness to common chronic diseases. A team of two licensed and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and nutrition interns find and develop healthy recipes that use ingredients distributed by the Atlanta Community Food Bank and can be prepared right in the Food Bank’s Learning Kitchen.
To learn more about the Atlanta Community Food Bank visit their website: https://acfb.org/