Countless metro Atlantans continue to help others in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s a sampling of the local residents and organizations aiding others:

The Marena Group

The Marena Group, a Lawrenceville-based medical device manufacturer, recently donated adult and child face masks to several Ronald McDonald House Charities around the country. The houses serve as a place where families can stay while their children or siblings spend weeks or months being treated for serious illnesses or injuries at children’s hospitals around the country, including those in Atlanta.

These masks were distributed to locations in COVID-19 hotspots: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix. Each Ronald McDonald House received 200 masks (150 adult and 50 child masks) for both the families and staff to wear.

The masks were donated by customers on Marena’s website and then matched by the company. There is a section on the website ( for customers to anonymously donate a mask as a “thank you” to front-line workers and to help those in need due to the shortage of face masks. The charity changes frequently; Marena chose the Ronald McDonald House Charities for the months of June and July.

“It takes the support of the entire community to do the work that we do. We are grateful for The Marena Group and their generous donation of face masks which will be used to keep families safe at our Houses here in Atlanta and at Houses throughout the country,” Dee Dee Ebert, volunteer services manager at Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, said in a news release.

Marena pivoted its production from post-surgical compression wear, active wear and shape wear to reusable antibacterial nonsurgical masks for adults and children in April to help the public combat the spread of COVID-19.


GENYOUth, a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to creating healthier school communities, announced Aug. 20 announced the donation of $100,000 to its COVID-19 Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund by the Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation. The donation, along with support from GENYOUth in partnership with The Dairy Alliance, will provide micro-grants for Atlanta Public Schools as it prepares to nourish students during the 2020-21 academic year.

Due to school disruptions caused by the pandemic, school meal distribution will be more logistically complicated and costly this coming school year. While school cafeterias will be closed, the district will continue to provide vital school meals to students via school bus delivery and curbside pickup.

In accordance with the new 2020-21 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended guidelines, Kroger’s donation will support the purchase of insulated cooler bags to ensure the safe transport, delivery, and distribution of meals to students throughout the district.

A total of 54 schools are part of Community Eligibility Provision, which provides all students with free breakfast and lunch. And an additional 21 schools will participate in the Federal Eligibility Application program, which offers free and reduced priced meals to qualifying students. The district will continue participation in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s school nutrition program.

“In an effort to take care of our families Atlanta Public Schools is extremely grateful and appreciative of the support of GENYOUth, Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, and The Dairy Alliance,” Superintendent Lisa Herring said in a news relesae. “This generous donation will allow a shift from traditional cafeteria meal service to student meal distribution through school bus delivery and curbside pickup. These partnerships help to align with our families’ expectations of available fresh, wholesome foods in the community that are comparable to school meals.”

Georgia’s Own Credit Union

Atlanta-based Georgia’s Own Credit Union, the second-largest credit union in the state, recently announced its latest donation of $15,575 to Smart Kid, Smart Lunch, Action Ministries’ annual initiative to battle food insecurity for children and their families across metro Atlanta during the summer.

Through earlier fundraisers in Atlanta and Albany, the credit union has committed over $62,000 to organizations fighting against childhood hunger during the pandemic.

“Serving the public good means looking out for all of those in need, especially when it comes to the children in our community,” Dave Preter, Georgia’s Own’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “We are proud to build on our work with Action Ministries, doing our part to alleviate childhood hunger during the summer months and draw more attention to this important cause.”

The latest funds were raised through both in-branch donations and the credit union’s annual Swipe to End Hunger campaign, which committed 10% of all member spending in specific categories between May 1 and June 30 to the initiative, with a cap of $10,000. The categories that triggered the 10% donationto the fund included such essentials as gas, groceries, utilities, pharmacies and restaurants.

Action Ministries plans to deliver 200,000 meals to at least 7,000 children this summer.

Mercedes-Benz USA

Aug. 20, Mercedes-Benz USA kicked off the back-to-school season by donating 1,600 backpacks to students at Atlanta Public Schools, including Leonora P. Miles Elementary School and Michael R. Hollis Innovation Academy. This program is a part of the district’s Runway Week’s Pop-Up Back-to-School Bash, which aims to prepare staff and foster connections with students.

“We are so excited that Mercedes-Benz is here with us, giving out supplies from these wonderful vehicles, partnering with us and making our students’ dreams come true,” Miles Principal Thalise Perry said in a news release. “Not only did they provide vehicles and backpacks today, but they are donating 90 meals for our teachers and staff on Friday.”

Mercedes provided a fleet of vehicles and volunteers to help distribute the donated backpacks to Miles parents and students in a low-contact, drive-through event at the school. All faculty, staff and Mercedes volunteers followed recommended safety guidelines during the event. It was part of the company’s Curbside Caring initiative, an extension of its Greatness Lives Here program for the city’s westside area by Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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