EAST COBB, Ga. — It’s a busy time for workers at MUST Ministries, who recently announced a major expansion in their efforts to provide shelter to those in need. But that’s only one of the ways they’re making a positive impact on the community. On Monday, MUST opened its 35th food pantry to assist families with children at Hollydale Elementary School.

“We have about 85 percent of our our students living in poverty,” said Jennifer Ridgway, the school’s principal. “They are sweet boys and girls. Their parents are hardworking, but we do have a high percentage of children in poverty. To make sure they're able to eat and have the materials that you and I have every single day is a blessing and helps us educate them.”

The pantry is stocked with not only everyday food items, but also baby formula, diapers, and a variety of toiletries. It will be accessible twice a month to Hollydale students and their families.

New food pantry directly benefits local elementary school
WXIA

“We believe that if students can be successful in school, they have a much greater opportunity to be successful in life,” Yvonne Byars, senior director for MUST neighborhood pantries, said. “The food is distributed on a monthly basis and this is a year-round program. Even during the summer months, families come and shop and pick up food and toiletries.”

Victoria Hill, the recently-crowned Miss Georgia, was there for the event which directly ties in with her platform.

“My goal is to advocate for children at risk and children in need,” she said. “My social impact initiative is called Flip The Script On Foster Care, and within that I have three goals. Firstly, to raise awareness of the needs in the foster care system, then to engage businesses to serve, such as United Way and MUST Ministries, and all the other wonderful people who are making resources like this possible for children in need. My third goal is to encourage mentorship of teens aging out of foster care.”

New food pantry directly benefits local elementary school
WXIA

Hill, who competes in December for the title of Miss America 2020, is studying to be a classical musician. But, she says her days are spent trying to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

“I have the rest of my life to promote myself as a musician or as a performer, but I've really been given this year to dedicate to children in need,” Hill said. “So I'm really trying to make as much of an impact as I can. And Lord willing, hopefully as Miss America, I will be able to partner with several organizations and make an even bigger impact across our country.”

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