“It’s another way to touch the community,” said Conner Slewitzke, co-owner of Gracious Plenty. “We’ve had gift card purchases of $200-$300 per person. Every day we (prepare) something different. It’s not just breakfast and bakery food.”
From the Earth Brewing owner Tim Stevens said his restaurant patrons also responded with $200-$300 gift card purchases after seeing social media posts about the program. Those funds cover his food and labor costs for the program, he said.
Christy Thomas, a teacher of special needs kindergarten students at Esther Jackson Elementary, came up with the meal program idea. When the pandemic closed schools, the faculty was concerned with how needy children would be fed, she said.
Families of students attending Esther Jackson Elementary, Hembree Springs Elementary, Roswell North Elementary, Crabapple Elementary, River Eves Elementary and Roswell High School receive food from the restaurants.
Fulton County Schools has a food distribution program that distributes food on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 21 locations, but the restaurant program helps during times that children are still without food to eat, said Brian Noyes, chief communications officer for Fulton County schools.
“Mike’s program has been great,” added Samantha Maxey, director of Community Relations for the school system. “He has worked directly with the PTA and principals” who direct families to the restaurant program.
Volunteers use social distance guidelines when delivering the meals to students in apartment complexes and hotels, Mike Thomas said.
“We are one of many other options for meals,” he said. “We are just doing our part.”