Action Ministries Launches End Hunger Period Initiative to Feed 10,000 Kids in Georgia Year-Round by 2024

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The Georgia United Methodist Foundation always gets excited whenever a donor establishes a charitable gift to benefit Action Ministries. Since 1963, Action Ministries has been mobilizing communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing, and education.

In the Fall of 2019 a new initiative, End Hunger Period, was kicked off under the leadership of Kelley Henderson, former chief executive officer of Action Ministries. In this Q&A, Shakura Conoly, chief community engagement officer for Action Ministries, talks about End Hunger Period, which will positively impact thousands of children’s lives.

Please tell me about this new initiative.
End Hunger Period is designed to close the meal gap for thousands of children across Georgia. Currently, our summer feeding program–Smart Lunch, Smart Kid–feeds 7,000 kids Monday through Friday. Our weekend meal program–SuperPacks–feeds 2,500 kids every weekend during the school year. Our goal is to bridge the gap of these two programs and expand our footprint in high-need areas to ensure access to food and to feed 10,000 kids year-round by 2024.

Why is End Hunger Period so imperative?
One in five children in Georgia suffers from food insecurity. This rises to one in three children in rural communities. Georgia has the 10th highest food insecurity rate nationally. Hunger negatively effects the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of children.

Do you ever encounter stories that break your heart?
Yes! We provide our Smart Kid! After School programming and food supplies to students at Green Acres Elementary in Smyrna. In one of our partner stories, Principal Ashley Mize shared how a student came up to her with tears in his eyes. When she asked what he needed, he said that he was hungry and that it was not his turn to eat last night. Apparently, he came from a family of six or seven children and they often didn’t have enough food to feed all of their kids at night so they took turns.

How can we partner with Action Ministries to End Hunger Period?
This initiative relies on community partners and volunteers from all sectors to ensure our local kids get fed. Whether a group wants to do a peanut butter drive at work or at church, prepare and deliver meals to students in the communities where they live, or work with our team to host a fun volunteer event such as packing meal kits for kids, we have a place for you. You can also sponsor a child for $400 to help end hunger for one year. There are numerous opportunities for our faith partners, corporate teams, families, and individuals to serve and give! Learn how at www.actionministries.net/ehp/.

Interview by Diana Durie, GUMF Communications Manager.