We're giving over $1 million in 2020 to priority nonprofit partners whose services have become more critical than ever amid COVID-19. Learn how we're making a difference together and how you can help.
This series highlights each of the priority nonprofit partners we’re supporting throughout these difficult times.
In Mid-March, we became one of the first corporate offices in Atlanta to institute a work-from-home mandate to protect employees and do our part to flatten the curve. Although our workforce is currently 100% remote, it's not stopping us from carrying out our mission to "Be a Fuel For Good." In fact, the opposite is true. We've stepped up our giving efforts even more.
As our employees helped deliver meals, packed food boxes, and found ways to volunteer virtually, we began to increase funding to area nonprofits. In April alone, we deployed $850,000 in funding, focusing on organizations positioned to have the most significant reach during this time.
In this giving spotlight series, we’ll look at a few of the ways these nonprofit partners are helping people and communities during these uncertain times, starting with Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Atlanta Community Food Bank
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, around 1 in 5 Georgia children lived in food-insecure households. As schools remain closed, many children's primary source of nutrition has disappeared. Organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank provide a lifeline for families struggling to keep the fridge stocked.
In an average year, more than 780,000 people across Metro Atlanta seek assistance from one of ACFB's 700 food pantries. Now, ACFB's CEO Kyle Waide estimates there are more than a million people in insecure food situations. ACFB has expanded its outreach efforts to meet the growing need, partnering with schools and YMCA branches, feeding hotel employees, and even setting up drive-through food pantries.
"We've increased our distribution by more than 30% over the last two months," Waide recently told Fox 5 News, emphasizing that support from the community is more critical than ever before. In total, ACFB is now distributing a staggering 2 million pounds of food per week—and anticipates sustaining this amount over the next several months.
How We're Helping
While we have long supported Atlanta Community Food Bank and its mission, we've increased our financial commitment this year to $200,000—20 times what we’ve donated in years past. The funding will provide food for children who are no longer receiving free or discounted school lunches and who cannot access school food pantries.
The donation will also support Georgia's hotel workers. Through our partnership with ACFB, funding will support the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association by addressing what has become a massive need, considering 90% of Georgia's hospitality workers have been unemployed since April.
Thanks in part to this funding, Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association have begun holding weekly pop-up food pantries every Tuesday to provide much-needed relief for these workers.
The pop-up pantries will take place until the end of May at various hotels across Metro Atlanta. Initially, each event provided around 250 furloughed or laid-off workers with 30-pound bags of groceries; beginning April 28, it doubled that capacity, now serving up to 500 families.
"Hope is the fuel that sustains us through uncertain times," said our President and CEO Kevin Greiner. "Hotel workers are often the ones smiling through the bad days, cheering up guests and spreading positivity. It is our turn to reciprocate the warmth and kindness of the hospitality industry by sharing our messages of hope and donating funds to provide food for them and their families."
When the second pop-up food pantry event took place at The Westin, many of our employees were even there to show their support (from a safe social distance) with words of encouragement and handmade signs.
How You Can Get Help
Atlanta Community Food Bank offers several convenient ways to seek assistance from one of its food pantry locations (and locate its partner agencies). To find help near you, you can visit their COVID-19 Help Map page and enter your ZIP code to see a list of locations (as well as their hours, phone numbers, and policies).
You can also text "FINDFOOD" or "COMIDA" to 888-976-2232 to receive instant information about food pantry locations near you.
The Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association will be reaching out to impacted workers with updates on pop-up food pantry events, including times and locations. If the hospitality industry slowdown has affected you, you can visit the GHLA's COVID-19 page for a list of available resources.
How You Can Provide Help
With a record number of requests pouring in (and major fundraising events like the annual Hunger Walk Run now canceled due to the coronavirus), Atlanta Community Food Bank needs financial support now more than ever. Even small donations keep someone from going hungry. As little as $1 provides four meals for someone in need, including children, seniors, and families in crisis.
You can choose to make a one-time donation of any amount or make a monthly gift. Be sure to check whether your employer will match your donation, too. If you've got a birthday coming up, consider starting a Facebook Fundraiser benefiting Atlanta Community Food Bank. We have a feeling your friends and family will be more than happy to brighten up your birthday while you're all stuck at home.
Being a Fuel for Good: During COVID-19 and Beyond
We hope our commitment of more than $1M in 2020 inspires others to join us in supporting our communities and all those impacted by COVID-19.
This commitment will continue long past the pandemic, since giving back is an integral part of our culture and purpose. Even in 2019, before the Coronavirus pandemic, we had already given more than $850,000 to organizations that provide basic needs, education, and illness/disability support to children in need in our communities.
In addition to funding, more than 165 Gas South employees logged 900+ volunteer hours last year, donating their time and talents to pack summer lunches for kids, help elementary students receive dental care, raise money for Bert’s Big Adventure and more.
And because we'll continue giving back at least 5% of our profits in years to come, every one of our customers is helping us "Be a Fuel for Good," too.