Roswell restaurants raise $50,000 to feed students, families

Credit: Arcane Visuals

Credit: Arcane Visuals

A school meal program started to temporarily assist restaurants and food insecure families during the coronavirus pandemic has raised $50,000 and plans to continue.

The School Meal Program, started by restaurant consultant Mike Thomas and his wife, Christy, was intended to last about two weeks. Now it's scheduled to continue through the summer and Thomas is working on turning the venture into a nonprofit.

Participating restaurants have prepared more than 10,000 meals for The School Meal Program, Thomas said. When restaurants and school buildings closed in March the Thomases came up with the idea for eateries to sell gift cards that benefit Roswell students. Fifteen restaurants have prepared meals for students who normally attend seven Fulton County schools located in Roswell. Their gift card proceeds go to business operating costs.

“We’ve proven there is a need,” Thomas said.

The Thomases are forming a board of directors and applying for nonprofit status for the food program.

The program provides meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the off days of Fulton County Schools food distribution program.

Many restaurants have reopened since the statewide shelter-in-place order was lifted, but Thomas said restaurant owners plan to continue with the program. They want to increase gift card purchases through May 22 to help with meal and operating costs through the summer.

“We need a strong initial push for donations,” he said. “Our restaurant partners report to me what their gift card balances are and the number of meals that they can provide.”

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