Hosea Helps continuing beloved holiday meal events despite coronavirus

Over 1,540 volunteers work on boxing up meals during the Hosea Helps 2019 Thanksgiving Festival at the Georgia World Congress Center.  STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Over 1,540 volunteers work on boxing up meals during the Hosea Helps 2019 Thanksgiving Festival at the Georgia World Congress Center. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

The coronavirus pandemic won’t stop Hosea Helps from feeding hundreds of Atlanta families this holiday season.

The nonprofit, formerly called Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless, officially kicked off its holiday season Thursday.

“We will not cancel our Thanksgiving and Christmas Day events because of the pandemic!” CEO Elisabeth Omilami announced at a press conference.

Every year, Hosea Helps puts on its signature Thanksgiving and Christmas events, providing food to people who need a warm meal. This year, the organization will also give out personal protective equipment and help connect people with resources like rent and utility assistance.

Unlike prior years, the holiday events will be outside and drive-thru, to ensure the safety of volunteers and guests.

Since the pandemic hit, “donations are down, but our spirits are high,” Omilami said. The organization has struggled with its finances in the past, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. “We believe that everyone has the right to a holiday that is filled with light with joy and with family."

ExploreAtlanta’s Hosea Helps needs funds for building renovations

The giveaways also take on greater importance this year, because need has gone up during the pandemic as thousands of Georgians lost their jobs, said Omilami, who is also the daughter of the late civil rights activist Hosea Williams. Demand at area food banks has been up since March.

Hosea Helps plans to move into a new headquarters building in two weeks. Last year, the city of Atlanta donated about $200,000 to help fund the construction of the 38,000-square-foot facility, which is located in the Perkerson neighborhood in southwest Atlanta.

The new building will include a computer classroom, food pantry and tutoring center. Over the last several years, the organization expanded its efforts to include job assistance, social services, and homeless prevention.

In Other News