St. Teresa’s determined five years ago that our primary mission would be serving families in crisis. We therefore committed to the Jubilee Path to Shine tutoring and mentorship program. As we served these students, we became aware of the struggle they and many others at the school have with food insecurity on a daily basis. As a result, we began our weekend food bag program, known as “Rocket Fuel”, reassuring marginalized students that they will have food provision over the weekends.
We serve two local schools, Roberts Elementary, Paulding County and Hayes Elementary, Cobb County. The counselors identify which children need help and how many bags we need to provide weekly. We have volunteers who shop, pack, and deliver the food bags to the schools. Our costs are covered in part by a budget, but we also receive monetary and food donations throughout the year from parishioners who are compelled by the needs of these children.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began and schools shut down, we realized daily life for so many of these families worsened and became dire. Recognizing the need, we contacted the counselors to assure them we would continue to provide our weekly food bags to the students. Sources for breakfast and lunches were available at local high schools during the week but there were no weekend resources. Once the Diocese announced our building was to be closed for the foreseeable future, we found an alternative space for storing food and packing our bags. Our parish responded with overwhelming love and concern with food donations, toilet paper, money, and grocery gift cards. We also had new volunteers step up to give their time.
We continue to supply our weekend food bags throughout the summer months because the need is still great. We have partnered with Northwest Christian Church which receives 3000 lbs of food weekly from the Atlanta Community Food Bank. They are graciously allowing us to pack ten lbs of extra groceries per family from their pantry and deliver these bags to the schools. Most of the families we serve are challenged with transportation issues, so we felt by bringing the additional groceries to the school, we could eliminate this logistical concern.
We plan to continue helping these families through 2020 and beyond. Our hope is to expand as the counselors identify problems and to partner with Atlanta Community Food Bank. If we could qualify to receive help from Atlanta Community Food Bank, our current budget would be sufficient to meet and exceed what we are currently providing. A dollar at the ACFB goes vastly further than it does at the grocery and big box stores. However, as we are operating presently, we anticipate the projected costs will be $500.00 per week to help 50 families and our budget is $5600 annually, which creates a need for $12,500.00.
We welcome support from our Diocese and fellow Episcopalians. If you feel called to help, the best way to help is to provide monetary gifts. Checks may be mailed to: St. Teresa’s, 5725 Fords Road, Acworth, GA 30101 and in the for the section of your check, please write Food insecurity or Rocket Fuel. Help us provide hope for these children and a bright tomorrow for their development. We also welcome ideas of corporate sponsoring. Please let us know if you have recommendations to pass along to our team.
Our team includes:
Pat Holloway, Senior Warden, email@example.com
Pat Corey, Outreach Chairperson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Betsy Tom, Missions and Ministry Vestry representative, email@example.com
Nancy Vita, Rocket Fuel Chairperson, nancv.Vita@qmail.com, 770-714-2797
We give thanks for your interest in reading how God moved our hearts during the pandemic. We invite you to help us expand the opportunity.