Starting this week, East Athens Development Corporation is launching a new food initiative in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19.
Over the next 12 weeks, in collaboration with Rashe’s Cuisine, other local minority restaurants and volunteers, EADC is slated to provide more than 5000 meals to Clarke County residents, including youth, senior citizens and homeless individuals. The Food Inclusion Initiative, funded in part by a grant from ACC Mayor and Commission, targets residents of Athens census tracts 301 and 302 — where more than half of the families lived in poverty prior to the pandemic. The families now are even more destitute — susceptible to poor health and nutrition due to a lack of adequate resources. The Food Inclusion Initiative also is designed to support local small businesses that are struggling for survival due to the debilitating crisis. EADC is prioritizing the purchase of food and other items from Athens-Clarke County businesses, including black-owned restaurants and vendors. These entrepreneurs have been largely circumvented by other COVID-relief efforts. The federal Paycheck Protection Program favored larger businesses with many employees and ties to large banks. In fact, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, around 95 percent of black businesses owners without employees had “almost no chance” of receiving funds through the PPP. Additionally, EADC’s close interaction with and meals delivery to families allows the dissemination of nutrition and health information, as well as COVID-19 education and the distribution of masks, sanitizer and related supplies throughout the community. The success of the Food Inclusion Initiative depends largely on EADC’s range of volunteers and supportive community partners, says EADC Executive Director Fred Smith. The partners include Athens Alliance Coalition, Northeast Georgia Business Alliance, Radio Station WXAG, Athens Neighborhood Leaders, Highlight Magazine, Chess and Community Conference, Sheriff Ira Edwards Office, UGA School of Social Work, 3D Champs, Youth Is Life, and the Innovative Healthcare Institute. For more information call 706-338-0192, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.