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Local after-school program pivots to provide weekly food drive

East Atlanta Kids Club provides families in need with 50 - 80 lbs of food per week.

Longtime after-school program and EAV mainstay, the East Atlanta Kids Club located in Brownwood Recreation Center hasn’t heard the pitter-patter of little feet for over 90 days.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not still plenty of work to be done.

Normally this after-school facility would be involved with a summer camp program, however, in the age of the pandemic, the staff at East Atlanta Kids Club had to re-adjust their focus.

And while the rules of engagement have changed, the goal hasn’t. The children and families have remained the top priority.

With the academic component of their program shunted completely to virtual, the organization decided to set-up its food distribution to the community.

Increasing their usual schedule of once a month to every week on Fridays between 12:30 p - 2:30 p.

Credit: Front entrance sign to the Brownwood Recreation Center and East Atlanta Kids Center

“During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic we've actually pivoted to providing fewer programs but our food distribution program for all of our families, and that entail us giving 50 to 80 pounds of food to households, weekly every Friday,” said East Atlanta Kids Club Program Director, Amechi Okoh.

The center distributes somewhere in the proximity of 2,000 lbs every week post-pandemic. To date, the total amount given is in the neighborhood of 24,000 lbs.

A typical Friday morning for the East Atlanta Kids Club goes as follows:

10 am:                          Pickup food from Atlanta Community Food Bank

10:30 am - 11 am:        Unload trucks of food into BRC

11 am - 12 pm:             Unbox, sort, and load food into distribution boxes
                                     (also assemble those boxes)

12:30 pm - 2:30 pm:     Load boxes into vehicles/curbside pickup for                                                          registered households and open access for
                                    unsheltered neighbors

When asked how did he feel the East Atlanta Kids Club was handling the transition, Executive Director, Ryan Downey tells My East Atlanta News this:

“This isn't how we intend to serve. At this time, we're not a food distribution program, but it's a thing we can do,” said Downey. “And we should all do the thing that we can do at this time, so it's really simple for me.”

Thanks to their partnerships, both old and new, the center has received generous funding from a number of local businesses, foundations, and individual donors in support of their effort.

Companies including but not limited to: OxFit, Kroger, Owens Corning Foundation, Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, Eastside Church, Village Church of East Atlanta, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta, Dunwoody Pet Sitting, HomeLight, Atlanta Kookaburras Australian Rules Football Club, and many others.

To learn more information at the East Atlanta Kids Club, visit their website.

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