There’s no denying the tremendous impact COVID-19 has had on residents in Greater Atlanta — particularly those who are food insecure.

The pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus only amplified that need in underserved communities, disrupting access to food for thousands of children and their families.

This past week, United Way of Greater Atlanta, in partnership with Coca-Cola, hosted a Week of Service to meet the needs of those residents most greatly impacted by COVID-19.

About two weeks into March, major cities around the country began shutting down any non-essential businesses in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus, an infectious disease, which is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as cough, fever, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

United Way had previously halted in-person events and volunteer opportunities but began offering safe and socially-distanced on-site volunteer events, as well as virtual and DIY opportunities in the months since Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp rolled back restrictions on a previous “shelter-in-place” order.

This is a new way that United Way has begun to meet the needs of the community while also making sure volunteers have opportunities available based on their comfort level.

“We are in constant communication with our partners on their needs and filling in as they arise,” says Brittany Phouangphet, Engagement Specialist in the Volunteerism Department for United Way. “Projects can also be tailored to specific groups and their unique set of skills. As a valued partner of United Way for over a century, Coca-Cola engages volunteers annually. This Week of Service was a special call to action, designed to address the impact of COVID-19 on the growing issue of food insecurity in Greater Atlanta.”

Over the past week, volunteers assembled more than 1,000 meals, harvested fresh veggies and performed garden maintenance for local gardens that deliver to food banks around Greater Atlanta and also implemented an emergency operation in conjunction with the Westside Future Fund to help feed families in historic Westside of Atlanta — an area that is growing rapidly, but still has great need, Phouangphet says.

“We are seeing overwhelming enthusiasm from our volunteers, whether it is a DIY project to complete at home, or a small group on-site event that has proper safety measures, volunteers are more eager than ever to help ensure our community thrives,” Phouangphet says. “The current climate has influenced us to increase our offering of virtual and remote opportunities; ensuring both the safety of our volunteers and meeting the needs of our communities.”

Learn more about how you can volunteer in your area and donate to improve the well-being of children and families in Greater Atlanta.

ATLANTA— Two renowned Atlanta institutions have pledged an additional $10 million to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund on the heels of yesterday’s announcement from United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The Coca-Cola Company and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation have each donated $5 million to the fund in order to support those most vulnerable to the economic and health-related impacts caused by the pandemic.

“The Coca-Cola Company is a global business. While our philanthropic work reaches around the world, we also have a long history of focusing on critical needs in our hometown of Atlanta,” said James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “We are deeply concerned about the growing impact of coronavirus in Atlanta and beyond, especially in the most vulnerable parts of our communities. We are using the resources of our company and The Coca-Cola Foundation to make a difference by providing much-needed assistance to organizations that are positioned to mobilize quickly and provide essential humanitarian relief.”

Funds raised will be directed to nonprofit organizations and other agencies focused on providing crucial services to high-risk audiences including seniors, families with children who normally receive free or reduced meals at school, families in need of childcare, homeowners and renters at risk for eviction, and hourly/low-wage workers.

“Thank you to The Coca-Cola Company and the Woodruff Foundation for their investments in the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund,” said United Way of Greater Atlanta CEO Milton Little. “Their donations will go a long way in easing the burden being placed on families in the wake of this crisis. We hope their gifts will inspire other companies and individuals to join in this important philanthropic effort.”

Individuals and families impacted and in need of support can contact United Way of Greater Atlanta’s 2-1-1 Contact Center. There are many ways to connect to 2-1-1 including by phone, chat, email or mobile app. 2-1-1 is a valuable resource that is available 24-hours and 7 days-a-week.

“It’s in times of crisis when the Atlanta community truly comes together and shines in its generosity,” said Lita Pardi, interim vice president at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “We are overwhelmed by these generous gifts and will be working swiftly with our partners in the nonprofit community to get our neighbors the resources and help they need so badly right now.”

Russ Hardin, President of The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, said, “The Woodruff Foundation is eager to help Atlantans weather this crisis, and we are counting on our Community Foundation and our United Way to get resources to those that need them most.”

To donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, click here.

 

About United Way of Greater Atlanta

United Way of Greater Atlanta, the largest United Way chapter in the nation, focuses on ensuring that every child in Atlanta has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. The organization invests in more than 200 programs in 13 counties through the Child Well-Being Impact Fund and works to help children succeed in school, improve financial stability of families, provide affordable and accessible healthcare and end homelessness. For more information, visit: unitedwayatlanta.org or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been leading and inspiring philanthropy to increase the vitality of our region and the well-being of all residents. With nearly 70 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation expands its philanthropic reach and impact by providing quality services to donors and bold, innovative community leadership. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation among 750 nationally, with approximately $1.2 billion in current assets, and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

Media Contacts
For United Way United Way of Greater Atlanta
Chad Parker, 404.358.5055
cparker@unitedwayatlanta.org