Feeding GA Families: Everybody Deserves Healthy Meals

Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

Feeding GA Families was founded in 2010 in honor of Ali Rivera’s Grandmother who would cook and feed neighborhood children every weekend. In 2020, they served 140 thousand individuals 741 thousand pounds of food. 

“Feeding GA Families (FGF) is a 501(c)3 state-licensed non-profit food pantry and community services agency aimed at combating food insecurity in our communities with the assistance of farmers, food banks, grocery stores, small businesses, corporate donors and sponsorships, and volunteers. Founded in 2010, FGF has expanded from feeding the homeless in Atlanta to providing cooked community meals, to hosting two weekly food pantries to those in need. FGF is a resource that the food insecure can utilize during their time(s) of need. Our services are provided with no questions asked, as our purpose is to aid those in need, when they are in need, without restrictions to residency, prior income, or family size.”

Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

“We began serving vegan meals and pantry options from our founding in 2010, we opened a dedicated vegan pantry in 2013, and we began shipping nationally and internationally in 2017,” Ali tells DKC.

Feeding GA Families started off feeding the homeless and hosting weekly food pantries sponsoring food giveaways. FGF served 20 thousand individuals in 2017, 30 thousand individuals in 2018, 80 thousand individuals in 2019, and were able to reach 140 thousand individuals in 2020.

Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

“Personally, I have multiple food allergies. When volunteering in the past, I’d hear over and over that someone had an allergy or health condition, but wouldn’t turn down food when facing hunger.” Ali continued, “I asked myself why they would have to make that choice and how would I want to be treated. FGF was born from that”

Many families are referred to FGF due to health or dietary restrictions. 

“We love getting updates on improved health conditions and knowing that people don’t have to choose between eating and their health when they come to us for assistance,” Ali remarked.  She has seen people that they have assisted over the years come back for volunteering and help pay it forward.

Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

Anyone in need is qualified to receive help from FGF regardless of income, residency or citizenship status. FGF is able to provide food to Georgia residents, nationwide through their outreach program “Operation E.F.F.O.R.T” and internationally through nonprofit partnerships.

Operation E.F.F.O.R.T stands for Emergency Food For Our communities, Retirees, and Teens. This includes door-to-door deliveries, mailed/shipped emergency food and grocery-ordered emergency food.

“[People need] access to HEALTHIER food options,” Ali writes. “We created our food pantry to serve everyone. That means providing fresh produce, vegan/plant-based options, allergy-friendly foods, and accommodating for dietary restrictions.”

Credit: Ali Rivea, FGF

She keeps a good mindset even when there are fewer supplies available by focusing on the people who ARE able to be helped with what’s available.

“In lean weeks, we reach out to all our food connections to increase what we provide,” Ali shares. “For example, today another organization picked up one of our major donor leads. I’ve hit the phones and have gotten food donations from other food distributors. I’ll continue making contact with retailers and farmers until our drive-thru pantry opens on Monday evening.”

Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

FGF’s FOOD ASSISTANCE CONSISTS OF:

  1. THE FREE MARKET- A weekly market-style food assistance program for Georgia families, individuals, seniors, students, and veterans. Clients (“shoppers”) are welcome to shop our store shelves for food and other specialty items they may need for the week. The items and quantities of items available on our shelves vary by week, based on donations and food bank purchases.
  2. VEGANTRY- A weekly market-style assistance program that offers only plant-based, vegan, allergy-friendly foods with a focus on fresh produce and healthier food options for those in need.
  3. COVID-19 EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE– Food assistance program that offers weekly home deliveries, or monthly mailed food shipments, and direct grocery to home delivery orders through Instacart, Publix, Walmart, Kroger, etc. for senior citizens and medically at-risk households.

FGF’S MEAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES INCLUDE:

  1.  Emergency Food Boxes –Pre-made food boxes made available to clients who cannot attend the Free Market/Vegantry dates and times.
  2. Thanksgiving Box Meal Event – Annually, the Monday before Thanksgiving, we remain open to help provide food for our shoppers at Thanksgiving Meals.
  3. Xmas Gift and Meals Give-a-way – Annually, the Saturday before Christmas, we help provide food and toys for our shoppers

Holiday meals and celebrations.

FGF  goals for 2021 are to expand Operation E.F.F.O.R.T to serve more people and families throughout the nation, provide more fresh produce and plant-based food throughout pop-up markets throughout the state and secure a permanent office/warehouse building location for operations.

Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

FGF Service Programs along with Operation E.F.F.O.R.T include:

1. Community Outreach – Pop up Food Pantries and Give-a-ways hosted throughout the state of Georgia and Community Children’s / Veterans / In-Need Group donations.

2. Unhoused Outreach – Food and Care Kits are packaged and distributed to the homeless in Georgia, Maryland, and Washington D.C.

3. Student Outreach – Snack and Meal Kits are packaged and provided to teachers and daycare owners to distribute to low-income area students in grades Pre-K to 12.

4. Community Hot Meals – Team and volunteers prepare, cook, and distribute food plates at several community-planned events at FGF’s location, senior care homes, and first responderlocations through the year.

5. Career-Learning Center —  Computer center set up to provide job search and resume assistance to adults and homework help and literacy improvement for students.

6. Clothes Closet– Provides casual wear clothing for adults, back-to-school clothing for students, and career attire for job seekers.

7. Services Assistance Provides resource information on additional assistance programs; including rental/mortgage assistance, utility assistance, and temporary housing programs.

The Initiatives of FGF are as follows:

1. Open Door Policy – We make the process of receiving much-needed help as simple as possible. We are a no-questions-asked facility. Anyone in need is welcome to receive assistance.

2. Healthy Eating Initiative – We encourage the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables in everyday meal planning. This includes fresh produce purchases to give away at the pantry and meal planning ideas and recipes highlighted on FGF’s social media page(s).

3. Dietary Restrictions Inclusions – Based on food donations and purchases, we work with shoppers’ dietary restrictions and concerns as much as possible. Dietary restrictions include food allergies and intolerances, vegetarian and vegan diets, and health-related diets (diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, etc.).

Margaret Rivera, Credit: Ali Rivera, FGF

Anyone who is interested in volunteering, giving back, or spreading the word should start off by SHARING and LIKING and FOLLOWING them on social media:

Www.instagram.com/feedinggafamilies 

Www.instagram.com/VEGANTRYga

Www.facebook.com/feedinggafamilies 

Www.twitter.com/feedinggafamily

Text “feedga” to 44-321 or visit feedga.org for many ways to give back.

FGF is in need of Volunteer Emergency Food Drivers on Sundays and Tuesdays of every week. For a full volunteer schedule reach out to vegantry@gmail.com.

DONATE:

▪︎CashApp/Venmo: feedinggafamilies 

▪︎Text “FeedGa” to 44-321

▪︎Http://paypal.me/feedinggafamilies 

▪︎Http://www.gofundme.com/feedinggafamilies

Points of Contact are: Alicia Rivera, CFO,  Margaret Rivera, CEO, and William Joyner, COM.

HOST A COLLECTION DRIVE:

Collect Food, Money, or Needed Items

▪︎Terms/Item List: 

http://visit.news/fgfdrive

▪︎Shop our Amazon List: 

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/6XXH0B0JQ2FB?ref_=wl_share

▪︎Drop off/Ship to FGF

@ 2514 W Point Ave, Atlanta GA 30337

Thank You to Ali Rivera for connecting with us – Ali Rivera, FGF

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