By Tammy Andress, Co-VP, East Cobb County Council of PTAs
The rapid closing of Cobb schools in March left many parents searching for resources in order to feed their families. Without the support provided by many of our schools and PTAs in the East Cobb County Council of PTAs (ECCC PTA), many of our food insecure families would have struggled to feed their children.
With the announcement that schools would be converting to distance learning on March 13th, the ECCC PTA sprang into action to help cover the immediate needs of families, beginning with the overwhelming need in the Powers Ferry Elementary community. In just six short hours, the ECCC PTA was able to raise $9,000 which was used to purchase grocery cards to send home with students to ensure the immediate need for food was met. Ultimately over $16,000 was raised to help impacted families in the entire East Cobb Community with emphasis on Powers Ferry, Sedalia Park, East Valley, Brumby, and a small portion that was sent to the South Cobb Council to help with the overwhelming need in that area of the school district.
As it became apparent that schools would not be re-opening their doors for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, many schools and PTA’s in the ECCC began to plan for the long-term support that was going to be needed in providing meals for those impacted by closure. For example, the Lassiter PTSA enhanced the scope of its Food Pantry to include families not only in the Lassiter community but also in the Pope community that did not have easy access to the MUST Ministries distributions at East Cobb Middle School. Its Pantry, which is solely sustained by the Lassiter and Pope communities and receives no support from MUST or CCSD, has continued to feed approximately 60 families throughout the summer.
The Sprayberry Community also recognized the growing need of families needing assistance in its area and has partnered with Piedmont Church and MUST Ministries to feed approximately 200 families each week.
Many schools have also provided their communities with opportunities to help support the food insecure families in the District. Wheeler High School conducted a food drive on behalf of the Class of 2020 and donated everything collected to MUST Ministries. Similarly, Garrison Mill Elementary conducted a food drive at their 5th Grade Drive-Thru Parade and donated those items to the Lassiter Food Pantry. Timber Ridge Elementary supported Bryant Elementary with a Food Drive that helped ensure those sweet scholars were properly fed.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created confusion and consternation for parents, students and educators alike, what can be celebrated is the outpouring of support from the
ECCC PTA community. Between food and monetary donations, over $50,000 has been generously donated by the East Cobb community to continue helping our food insecure students. The generosity has been overwhelming and the ECCC PTA would like to thank every person and community partner who has served and continues to support the efforts in their areas to make sure no child goes hungry.
Tammy Andress is Co-President of the Lassiter High School PTSA and Co-Vice President for the ECCC PTA. She is a long time advocate for education and the mother of a rising junior daughter at American University, and rising senior and rising sophomore daughters at Lassiter.