Action Ministries launches Smart new initiative
By GLENN HANNIGAN
Children in need. People eager to help. Leaders ready to organize and train.
Action Ministries is unveiling a new model to serve underprivileged youth across Georgia while bringing together churches, private businesses and civic groups.
The new initiative -- Smart Lunch, Smart Kid – is a grass-roots effort to serve tens of thousands of needy children during the summer.
More than half of the 1.5 million public school students in Georgia receive free or reduced-price lunch each day during the week. Those services are not provided when school is not in session, leaving a large hunger gap during the summer months.
“We know that it is vitally important for kids to have proper nutrition throughout the year,” said Mark Hellman of Action Ministries. “It is both a physical and emotional issue. Kids should not have to worry whether they will have anything to eat that day.”
Action Ministries will be holding various information sessions across north Georgia in the month of January. Hellman says the Smart Lunch, Smart Kid program is designed to build strong working relationships among volunteers from local churches, civic organizations and private businesses.
“This effort will be kept as wide-open as possible,” Hellman said.
Staff members from Action Ministries will help identify communities of greatest need and determine the best sites for distribution. Training will be provided for all volunteers, who will “make lunches following an easy-to-use menu of smart food choices.”
The goal will be to deliver nutritious lunches in each area each day to 400 children not being served by other programs.
Churches are encouraged to get involved in a variety of levels, from making or delivering meals to serving as a host site.
In addition, Hellman says Action Ministries will be looking for volunteers to provide education and encouragement for needy youngsters.
“That is where the Smart Kid part comes in,” he said. “We might offer a Bible study one day and invite a public safety official to talk about fire safety another day.”
Upcoming information sessions about Smart Lunch, Smart Kid:
Tuesday, Jan. 17:
10 a.m.: Action Ministries Athens, 717 Oconee Street, Athens, 30605
2 p.m: Action Ministries Gainesville, 1 First Street, Gainesville, 30504
Wednesday, Jan. 18:
10 a.m.: Thomson First UMC, 353 Main Street, Thomson, 30824
Thursday, Jan. 19:
10 a.m.: Fayetteville First UMC, 175 E. Lanier Ave, Fayetteville, 30214
2 p.m.: Hampton UMC, 10 West Main Street, Hampton, 30228
Tuesday, Jan. 24:
10 a.m.: Chatsworth UMC, 111 W. Cherokee Street, Chatsworth, 30705
2 p.m.: Action Ministries Rome, 207 E. 19th Street, Rome, 30161
Wednesday, Jan. 25:
10 a.m.: Northside UMC, 2799 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta, 30305