Countless metro Atlantans continue to help others in need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Here’s a sampling of the local residents, organizations and businesses aiding others:
Atlanta Dream Center
The Atlanta Dream Center, a faith-based nonprofit whose mission is to rescue individuals out of sex trafficking and homelessness while preventing vulnerable children from falling victim, has been working to help others.
It has distributed COVID-19 street survival guides with testing site locations and preventive information specifically for individuals in homelessness. The center also has also delivered 200 to 500 meals per day to homeless individuals, averaging 2,000 per week.
It also has provided case management services to help anyone transition out of homelessness, and it is paying for transportation and intake fees for anyone in homelessness entering a long-term recovery program or homeward-bound placements.
According to a news release, Atlanta’s increase in homelessness over last year (5%) is ahead of the national trend (0.3%). Requests for help out of homelessness have increased by 83% at the center since the COVID-19 crisis began in March.
Many of those in need are facing homelessness for the first time due to the virus’ impact on the economy. Others, already on the street, feel renewed desperation to transition out of homelessness to escape the health risks.
According to the Georgia Department of Labor, unemployment rose to 11.9% in April, up from 3.1% in February (the May unemployment rate has not been announced yet).
For more information, visit www.atldreamcenter.org.
Planet Fitness, a Hampton, New Hampshire-based health and fitness company with locations all over metro Atlanta, announced it has donated $10,000 to its local nonprofit partner, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. The clubs aim to save and change the lives of children and teens, especially those who are the most in need.
Planet Fitness’ donation will help support the clubs’ drive-up meals initiative and food insecurity task force, which has served more than 17,500 meals locally since March. For many club members and their families, the COVID-19 pandemic underscores a critical food insecurity issue. With schools closed, vulnerable youth are left without the meals they rely on daily.
The Planet Fitness donation will help fund nearly 350 meal bags for local Boys & Girls Club members. The meal bags will contain recipe cards and all the ingredients needed to feed an entire family breakfast, lunch and dinner so deserving families will have one less thing to worry about during these uncertain times. Each family will also receive a soccer ball to promote physical outdoor activity.
“At Planet Fitness we are fortunate to have the opportunity to help change people’s lives every day through fitness,” Stanley DeMartinis Jr., managing partner of Alder Partners LLC, one independent franchisee in metro Atlanta, said in a news release. “As members of this community, we are committed to giving back to our neighbors and are honored to be able to support Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta in their efforts to assist youth and families impacted by food insecurity.”
Aaron's Inc., an Atlanta-based provider of lease-purchase solutions, and Rooms To Go, a Seffner, Florida-based furniture company, have joined forces to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to Grady Health System for use in Atlanta medical facilities impacted by the pandemic.
“Given the tremendous need for PPE throughout Atlanta, Aaron’s is honored to partner with Rooms To Go to help Grady respond to the challenges presented by this rapidly changing health crisis,” Aaron’s CEO John Robinson said in a news release.
Aaron’s and Rooms To Go are leveraging their combined supply chain and cut-and-sew manufacturing capacity to facilitate getting PPE into the hands of front-line medical professionals during this time of crisis. This collaboration has provided more than 8,000 medical gowns to the hospital over the last several weeks.
“We are honored to have received such incredible support from the corporate community and grateful for partners like Aaron’s and Rooms To Go, who are so very committed to giving back,” Joselyn Butler Baker, president of the Grady Health Foundation, said in the release. “Throughout this crisis, Grady’s highest priority has been and continues to be the safety of our frontline employees as they put their own lives at risk caring for our patients. We are truly grateful to these two corporate leaders for supporting our mission.”
North Atlanta Church of Christ
Throughout June, North Atlanta Church of Christ in Dunwoody is donating more than 2,100 gallons of milk per week to those impacted by the pandemic. Once the church learned about individuals’ and families’ need for milk, it contacted Dallas, Texas-based Borden Dairy through one of the distributors of milk in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families program.
As a result, the church is one of Borden’s official distribution points. It also connected some larger food distribution organizations in Atlanta with this program so it will be able to receive milk directly from Borden.
The organizations receiving milk so far are Malachi's Storehouse (360 gallons), Community Assistance Center (180), North Fulton Community Charities (540) and MUST Ministries/Cumberland Community Church (125). Cor (300 gallons) and Solidarity Sandy Springs (600) are also expected to get milk.
The church, which has 30 volunteers helping with the program, also will receive 360 gallons of milk a week. It will be distributed to 10 entities (organizations, shelters and families).
For more information visit, www.lovefirst.org. Anyone interested in helping or volunteering for the six organizations can contact them individually.