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Southern Hospitality | Pop-up food pantry provides food for up to 500 families

Weekly initiative created to offer provisions to families of hospitality workers

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — It’s been just over five weeks since the COVID-19 shutdowns became a hard reality for many folks in the greater metro Atlanta area.

During that time, much of our focus has been turned to businesses like restaurants, supermarkets, and retail stores, which have all been impacted to varying degrees.

However, arguably no brick-and-mortar industry has been hit harder than hospitality. Long before either Tyler Perry or Pinewood set their sights on building their studios here, Atlanta was well known as a hospitality city. 

Due in no small part to being home to the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Credit: Pop-up food pantry provides food for up to 500 families

In the immediate wake of COVID-19, hotels were some of the first casualties of business closures. Resulting in thousands of local hotel employees without jobs and even more families struggling to find ways to put food on the table.

The special funding for the program comes directly from Gas South, who donated $200,000 to the ACFB with a portion specifically earmarked for the GHLA in support of service industry employees.

"Hope is the fuel that sustains us through uncertain times," said Kevin Greiner, Gas South president, and CEO in a press release. "It is our turn to reciprocate the warmth and kindness of the hospitality industry by sharing hope through community giving."

For the past few weeks, local organizations such as the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association (GHLA) and the Atlanta Community Food Bank  (ACFB) have been providing foods for families in need.

The GHLA estimates nearly 90% of hospitality workers in the metro Atlanta area have been furloughed or laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association Doubles Capacity for Pop-Up Food Pantry

“I’m the general manager of the area down in College Park and so for me, this is where I earn my living, and this is where I know that hundreds of families earn theirs,” says Gateway Marriot and Renaissance Hotel General Manager, David Offenhauser.

“For me, this is human beings taking care of human beings and that's the most important thing, it's not for show.”

Beginning Tuesday, April 28, the weekly pop-up food pantry will be doubling its capacity to serve up to 500 families. 

To learn more information about local food distribution, visit The Atlanta Community Food Bank website.

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