Businesses partner to impact food insecurity at South Fulton school

National nonprofit Heart of America and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in partnership with iHeartMedia, recently announced an effort aimed at serving under-resourced communities in Atlanta by addressing hunger and food insecurity in the College Park community, according to a press release. As part of Heart of America’s mission to transform educational spaces into modern learning environments, they will lead the design and construction of a custom food pantry at College Park Elementary School, which will help increase access to fresh and shelf-stable meals for College Park students and their families.

Based on data from Feeding America’s annual Map the Meal Gap study, approximately 1 in 5 kids in Atlanta are experiencing food insecurity. The collaboration between Heart of America, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and iHeartMedia aims to provide a practical, sustainable resource that will help College Park students and their families access healthy meals for years to come.

Targeted for completion this Fall, the food pantry will transform an unused classroom and adjoining closet into a multi-purpose space that will serve as a Clothing Closet, Food Pantry and Office for the Parent Liaison, who will help distribute these critical items to students and families. Atlanta Community Food Bank, who helps nearly 865,000 people in the Atlanta and North Georgia region receive food every year, will also support the partnership through the 2021-22 school year by providing meals, free of cost, to the College Park Elementary School community.

The program at College Park Elementary is part of an initiative being implemented in four cities with Anthem’s sister companies and Heart of America, focused on creating customized solutions to address hunger and lack of access to healthy food by building learning gardens, food pantries and teaching kitchens in high-need schools. Anthem has also engaged the WNBA franchise in each city to participate, with the Atlanta Dream joining the effort at College Park Elementary.