Organization Taps Volunteers from 19 Civic & Religious Organizations to Distribute Weekend Meals to Food-Insecure Students at 27 Metro Atlanta Schools
On Friday, August 12, 2022, the City of Dunwoody will officially welcome nonprofit organization Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new food storage and distribution center. Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta partners with 19 civic and religious organizations in Metro Atlanta to provide much-needed weekend meals to food-insecure children at 27 area schools. Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta began as a volunteer effort in 2017, building on a successful model used in other communities. The organization became a 501c3 nonprofit in early 2022 and, with the new central distribution facility, will be able to grow exponentially - engaging new partners and providing much needed food for students in more schools across Atlanta.
This concept has been in place in Atlanta since 2017, when Ron and Samra Robbins started Backpack Buddies at their synagogue, Dunwoody’s Congregation Beth Shalom. The Robbins worked with other religious and civic organizations to set up similar programs across Atlanta, which currently feed nearly 1,000 students each week across 27 Metro Atlanta schools, engaging over 100 volunteers per month in the process.
“Working together with so many community organizations to meet the many challenges exacerbating food insecurity in Metro Atlanta - including the effects of the pandemic and rising inflation - has been important work,” noted Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta founder Ron Robbins. “Our new Dunwoody facility is an amazing next step to meet the ever-growing need. It provides the space to procure and efficiently store food in a way that makes it even easier for our community partners, called Community Buddies, to get it to the schools and students we serve.”
"I love the work that Backpack Buddies does to support children and families," said Mayor Lynn Deutsch. "By providing food for students on the weekends, they help to address food insecurity in our community. "
“We often think about food insecurity, starvation and malnutrition as third-world problems when the reality is that there are children in our own communities who are suffering from these conditions,” said Rev. Dr. Miguel A. Vélez, Senior Pastor at Skyland United Methodist Church. “Backpack Buddies has given us the opportunity to care for these children and their families in concrete and real ways that make a difference. When children are well fed and cared for, they are more likely to learn and succeed in school and in life. I am grateful for this ministry initiative and pray others will join us in feeding and caring for these children to help them have a brighter and better future.”
Adam Kofinas, Executive Director at Congregation Or Ve Shalom added, “Joining the effort for Backpack Buddies has served as a new avenue for member engagement through volunteering for the program and provided a way for ‘OVS’ families to make a difference in the larger Atlanta community, filling a need outside our congregation. We are excited for the new facility as it will further our ability to provide even more meals for those in need.”
ABOUT BACKPACK BUDDIES OF METRO ATLANTA
Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta provides weekend meals to food-insecure children in metro Atlanta to enhance their mental and physical health as well as their ability to learn. Operating out of a storage and distribution facility at 2458 Jett Ferry Road, Suite 350, Dunwoody, GA 30338, Backpack Buddies of Metro Atlanta provides food at no cost to 19 civic and religious organizations, called Community Buddies, that deliver the food to 27 Metro Atlanta schools to support food-insecure students. For more information, please visit www.backpackbuddiesatl.org.