Atlanta Community Food Bank to receive $29 million federal COVID-19 grant

Volunteer Honour Wai Williams (R) sorts food into their appropriate boxes at the Atlanta Community Food Bank Thursday, 23, 2021.    STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Volunteer Honour Wai Williams (R) sorts food into their appropriate boxes at the Atlanta Community Food Bank Thursday, 23, 2021. STEVE SCHAEFER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

The Atlanta Community Food Bank is receiving $29 million from the state’s portion of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Food Bank President and CEO Kyle Waide said the funding will support what the nonprofit is doing between now and 2024, to purchase essential grocery items for families facing food insecurity — a federal term describing the conditions of a household without consistent access to enough food for everyone in the home to live an active, healthy life.

The state is still finalizing the details of how the funding will be distributed, but Waide said it’s the largest single-funding award in the Food Bank’s history, and one of the largest given to a single food bank in the country.

The funds come from the $1.9 trillion bill President Joe Biden signed into law last March to provide relief to citizens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Atlanta Community Food Bank President and CEO Kyle Waide

Credit: 122318 biz newsmakers

Atlanta Community Food Bank President and CEO Kyle Waide

Credit: 122318 biz newsmakers

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Community Food Bank President and CEO Kyle Waide

Credit: 122318 biz newsmakers

Credit: 122318 biz newsmakers

Atlanta Community Food Bank estimates more than half of the people it serves are working families that earn too much to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, but not enough to meet their basic needs with rising healthcare, housing and food costs.

Prior to the pandemic, the Food Bank spent an estimated $2 million a year to supply goods to more than 700 nonprofits to aid to 700,000 families across 29 counties in Georgia. The cost of their food purchases jumped to roughly $13 million due to COVID, representing a nearly 600% increase compared to pre-COVID levels.

That equates to roughly 8 million pounds of food a month, Waide said Friday.

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“Just as people are trying to get back on their feet, we have this significant impact of inflation that is extra burdensome for lower income families. They spend a higher percentage of their budget on basic needs like food and gas and housing then higher-income families,” Waide said.

“They need our help and thanks to this award from the state, from the governor, we’re going to be able to respond and support those families.”

The City of South Fulton is partnering with the Food Bank to host a food distribution event Monday. The event will be held May 23 from 2-5 p.m. at Creel Park (2775 Creel Road South Fulton).