Action Ministries' hunger relief programs help people shed the burden of searching for their next meal. Last year, Action Ministries provided more than 1.4 million meals to people in need. We currently operate two community kitchens (Our Daily Bread in Athens and the Women's Community Kitchen in midtown Atlanta) as well as food pantries and community gardens in Rome and Athens. In Rome, Action Ministries also serves as the northwest Georgia distribution site for the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
We launched a very successful statewide initiative in 2012 called Smart Lunch, Smart Kid to provide nutritious sack lunches to low - income children in the summer months, and in January 2013, we merged with the Feed the Hungry Foundation to offer Feed the Hungry food boxes year - round to our most vulnerable citizens. [For more on these statewide hunger initiatives, please see below.]
Struggling individuals often come to Action Ministries because they are hungry, but in these difficult times, people need more than food to improve their lives. When they get to know our volunteers and staff - and the wide range of programs we offer - they can see newfound hope and are able to embark on next steps for transforming their lives.
Smart Lunch, Smart Kid
Action Ministries launched Smart Lunch, Smart Kid (SLSK) in 2012 to serve the thousands of Georgia children who receive free and reduced - price lunches during the school year - but go hungry during the summer months. The program's goal for its inaugural summer was to provide 100,000 sack lunches to needy children, and with an outpouring of support from local communities, we were able to serve 117,292 lunches at 25 program sites in 18 Georgia communities from May through August. We now look forward to a second summer of service, with a goal of 200,000 lunches this year.
Action Ministries coordinates a vast network of partnering organizations and SLSK volunteers who make the lunches, drive the lunches to safe places where the children gather, serve the meal and offer enrichment activities once the kids are fed. Many of the SLSK sites are in remote rural areas, trailer parks, apartment complexes and other places where children otherwise have no access to hunger relief services. The program allowed Action Ministries to offer services in Butts and Fayette counties for the first time in 2012, and we will add Carroll County in 2013.
In its first year, SLSK has already attracted the support of WalMart Foundation, Sam's Club, 11Alive and various corporate partners. With increasing financial and volunteer support, this highly replicable program will continue to grow and provide meaningful service opportunities to volunteers of all ages while meeting a real need in underserved communities.