Keeping Our Kids Fed: Cobb Schools, Local Organizations Work Together

While Cobb educators are working diligently to keep students learning and engaged, the Cobb team is just as committed to making sure students’ basic needs are met. Last week the Cobb County School District continued to distribute food to students in need and many community organizations have stepped up to help.

Members of the Cobb team like Sommer Taylor helped pack breakfast and lunch meals last Monday to feed students for the entire week. Cobb’s partner MUST Ministries helped supply the food and volunteers and weathered the rainy morning to fill cars and bellies with nutritious and educational supplies. In fact, Cobb Schools and MUST dished up a total of 24,480 meals.

Pickups for food will continue on Mondays, between 11 am – 1 pm, at the following locations:

  • Acworth Elementary School
  • Bryant Elementary School
  • Campbell High School
  • Compton Elementary School
  • East Cobb Middle School
  • Garrett Middle School
  • Osborne High School
  • Riverside Intermediate School

Students must be present in the vehicle to receive their food. MUST and Cobb Schools will also distribute food for the week of Spring Break on Monday, April 6.

About 40% of Cobb students depend on school breakfast and lunch each day, and when the schools are closed, the need is intensified. Fortunately, the Cobb community is generous and has stepped up to help keep kids fed.

There are many other locations around Cobb county offering help to those in need during this unprecedented time.

Some of the community volunteers represent the YMCA and Grace Community Church, which recently helped deliver hot meals and lunch supplies to residents at Lakeside Vista.

YMCA Director Gayle Battersby was encouraged by all the support they are receiving.

“We take it one week at a time,” she said. “Right now, we have enough food for one more week for about 100 families. We are partnering with Mount Paran Church and our Y members and friends have been donating through our Amazon wish list.”

To keep the meals flowing, organizations like the YMCA and MUST need donations.

“We need more bread, peanut butter, jelly, tuna, canned chicken,” the YMCA Director explained. “We are only providing lunches at the moment, but if we get into dinners, we will also need cans of spaghetti sauce, pasta, canned veggies, and fruit. We are in this for as long as we continue to get donations. Every bit helps.”

Many of those helping are part of the Cobb Schools family.

The Harrison High School Boys Tennis Team, for example, got in the giving spirit by donating many of their team’s game supplies to MUST Ministries. With many of their games being canceled, the team had an abundance of drinks and snacks and the Booster Club decided to donate the excess.

“The Tennis Team has an abundance of school pride and are proud to be Hoyas,” said Booster Club parent Debbie VonFeldt. “They are also proud to be members of this community and hope this small act of kindness can shed a bit of happiness for some in this unprecedented time.”

In South Cobb, the First Christian Church of Mableton has been doing great work around Pebblebrook High School.

“We have several partnerships with food providers,” said Executive Minister Barry Smith, “and we have a budget set aside for ministering to the community, which always includes feeding them.”

For more than five years, First Christian has been offering classes and youth events at their church to facilitate this. But with social distancing and shelter-in-place requirements, these Wednesday night events have been put on hold.

“On Thursdays, we go out to several apartment complexes in the area and make fresh food available to those in need,” Mr. Smith said.

Mableton Village, Mableton Place, and Mableton Manor are three of the apartment complexes where First Christian has been distributing hot meals.

“It’s small-scale, but I think it’s having an impact,” he said. “It has also been a great encouragement to our church members. Our people have been jumping right in and helping. It’s about being the church and being salt and light to the community right where we are.”

Cobb Schools Social Work Supervisor, Ana Murphy, is pleased with how the efforts are going around the county but recognizes that there are still some concerns.  

“Lack of transportation is an issue for some families, or the parent /guardian is working during the hours of the distribution,” Ms. Murphy said. “Compromised health is another concern for some. At this time the public health department is establishing guidelines on how to ensure that we are following best practices.”

Another challenge is that food donations have been slowing down, due to dwindling supplies and limits on how much can be purchased at once nationwide.

If you are able to help financially or donate food, please contact one of the organizations listed above. We are all in this together.

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