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

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

Georgia’s Own

Georgia’s Own Credit Union recently donated 500 children’s face masks and 150 kids’ face shields to the Boyce L. Ansley School in downtown Atlanta.

Founded in 2018 in space donated by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the school provides tuition-free, private education for children of families who have experienced or are currently experiencing homelessness. The school serves 45 students and plans to add a grade each year until it accommodates pre-K through eighth grade.

Most of Ansley’s students are taking classes in person, at a new, 12,000-square-foot facility on Ralph McGill Boulevard. The donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) serves as a necessary tool in keeping students and teachers safe as COVID-19 cases in Georgia remain high.

“While the disruptions to our way of life caused by COVID-19 are too many to count, the interruptions to traditional schooling have been among the most impactful,” Marin Kraushaar, executive director of the Georgia’s Own Foundation, said in a news release. “When we learned about the incredible work the Boyce L. Ansley School was doing for some of the most vulnerable children in our community, we were honored to provide the PPE they need to keep their students in the classroom.”

The school aims to raise awareness to the nearly 2,000 children experiencing homelessness in Atlanta.

“We depend heavily on community support to operate our incredibly unique school, so we are immensely grateful for this gift from Georgia’s Own,” said the school’s Kate Kennedy, founder and president of The Boyce L. Ansley School. “Our student population is especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new PPE supplies will help ensure our students and teachers can safely complete our school year in-person. Seeing our students' faces is about more than academic success; it allows us to check in with them emotionally and make sure they are staying safe and healthy during these incredibly challenging times.”

Harry Norman

Buckhead-based Harry Norman, Realtors recently announced it exceeded its goal of raising $90,000 in 2020 to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Through corporate and individual donations, the company contributed $135,000 to support important nonprofit work including animal rights, the arts, fighting homelessness and more. Each office selected charities to receive their contribution including Our House, Beat the Streets, Rescuing Hope, Elm Street Cultural Arts Center, United Way and more.

Much of the funds went to organizations that aid residents impacted by the pandemic. This philanthropic venture started in June 2019, when the luxury real estate firm launched the Harry Norman, Realtors Philanthropy Fund in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

“Harry Norman has always been committed to Atlanta from a philanthropic standpoint,” company President and CEO Jenni Bonura said in a news release. “This unique partnership with Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta allows us to focus our efforts on the communities that we proudly serve. Giving back is at the heart of who we are as an organization and reflects our deeply rooted connection and devotion to Atlanta.”

Food bank

The Atlanta Community Food Bank, whose missing is to provide nutritious food to individuals in need, recently launched its Text for Help SMS platform to increase access to food for all during the pandemic.

This easy-to-use, phone-based program enables its users to locate the nearest food pantries simply by sending a text. The SMS function will continue to be active, for all to use, even after the current COVID-19 crisis of ends.

The food bank launched the platform to help food insecure children and families during this time of crisis.

“One in seven Georgians are food insecure. With statistics like this, the new text program for locating food will prove an invaluable resource for a great number of children and adults facing hunger in our area,” Kyle Waide, the food bank’s president and CEO, said in a news release.

The Text for Help SMS function recognizes two keywords: “findfood” (no space) in English or “comida” in Spanish. Each keyword will activate automated responses in the relevant language. When a person texts either keyword to 888-976-2232, they’ll be prompted for their zip code or address to enable location services for food pantries closest to them.

Responses will include a list of three different nearby pantries and their contact information. If no pantries are located within a 10-mile radius from the zip code entered, the program provides information on the nearest food pantries in neighboring zip codes. Standard carrier message and data rates may apply, based on one’s cell phone carrier.

Giving Kitchen

Giving Kitchen, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that provides financial aid for restaurant workers in crisis, has announced it has provided almost 2,500 individuals with financial assistance totaling more than $1.1 million since the beginning of 2020.

Thanks to those fundraising efforts, Giving Kitchen has not turned away a single qualifying client. This year the organization is receiving more requests for help, and more than 65% of clients are facing COVID-related difficulties so far in 2021. Also, in January it had the second largest number of clients served and second highest amount of financial aid awarded in its eight-year history, with February expected to have even higher totals.

Giving Kitchen also released the results of a client survey: 76% say it prevented an eviction, 69% say it prevented incurring a late fee on a utility payment and 75% say they didn’t have to skip meals to pay bills.

Team Hidi, Giving Kitchen’s largest annual fundraiser, was set for Jan. 31 but postponed due to the pandemic. It has repurposed the event into Team Hidi: Spring Training, a series of four virtual beverage and food events, each with its own theme, April 28 through May 13. Also, an online Auction will be held April 25 through May 9.

For more information, visit givingkitchen.org.

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