Cobb Community Foundation (CCF) is leading a significant new campaign in partnership with Cobb Collaborative and United Way of Greater Atlanta/Northwest Region. These nonprofits are launching a community awareness initiative to highlight the heroic food distribution efforts happening daily, thanks to a faithful base of charitable organizations.
A campaign called “Help Us Help Others” launched today to encourage the Cobb Commissioners to vote for funds to be made available to organizations now distributing food to record numbers of people in poverty. More than 50 nonprofits are distributing food daily, much of which had to be purchased as supporters sheltered in place causing grocery donations to decrease.
“Our community is so blessed to have outstanding nonprofits committed to Cobb County,” said Shari Martin, President and CEO of CCF, “but it’s a struggle to serve this rising tide of people – including thousands of children – in desperate need. Many organizations have gone into debt to buy food and distribute it. It’s heartbreaking to watch the unprecedented crowds show up to get food boxes.”
She pointed out that many charities are seeing at least four times the usual number of people in need. While the pandemic triggered skyrocketing job losses and therefore loss of income, nonprofits scurried to help, but faced food and manpower shortages, “They are operating on skeleton staffs with skeleton budgets, yet feel compelled to keep helping,” Martin stated. “We need the County to support these life-saving efforts.”
Irene Barton, Executive Director of Cobb Collaborative added, “Both of our school systems pivoted to ensure thousands of school children who rely on school nutritious meals are able to access food. Within hours, other organizations quickly began collaborating to deploy resources to the most vulnerable children and families. That network of organizations continues to respond to the need,” she said. “ We have never been prouder of our network of nonprofits who have swooped in to save the day.”
Despite the heroic efforts, Martin said that the nonprofits are overwhelmed by the unrelenting demand and the uncertainty of an end date. “For the good of our county, residents followed the government’s edict to shelter in place. While that was a good decision in fighting COVID-19, the ramifications will require a community-wide effort as we fight the poverty left in the wake of the virus.”
A vote for funding for food and costs of distribution will be on the agenda for the April 28 Board of Commissioners meeting. The needs during this time are greater and more varied than organizations can effectively address from their traditional funding sources, Martin said. “The partnership of government and nonprofits, combined with other resources, allows for more impactful work and literally save lives.”
Nicole Lawson, Director of United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Northwest Region added, “We hope Cobb Countians will realize the depth of the need and encourage their commissioners to vote for food funding. Where would Cobb be without our nonprofits? We need all of them to survive this crisis and continue to be there to make our community stronger in the years to come.”