CONYERS, Ga. – On Thursday, June 25, roughly halfway through the summer, RER’s Summer Lunch Program crested at over 400 children served in one day – signaling a new high water mark for the program, now in its second year. “We have far surpassed last year’s high of 269 served in one day, and it’s about twice the daily average from what we were able to do in 2014,” remarked Andy Peabody, Executive Director for RER.
RER’s Summer Lunch Program invites congregations, civic groups, businesses and families to help feed children who might not otherwise have access to a mid-day meal during the summer break. Indeed, according to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one in four children in Georgia face more hunger in summer because there are no school meals to help meet rising levels of food insecurity.
RER’s approach to summer feeding incorporates a particular hands-on, volunteer-intensive, grassroots approach that Peabody learned during his years on staff at MUST Ministries. “We are big fans of the Summer Food Service Program and other federally-supported feeding initiatives for kids, but for us, no system is better than actually preparing meals with your own hands, made from food you purchased yourself, and giving that gift to another in need,” said Peabody. “Our model depends wholly on the compassion and generosity of those in our community.”
However, RER is not alone in providing summer lunches to children in need in Rockdale. They are lead partners along with the Rockdale County Public Schools and BOLD Ministries in the local “Be Bright, Eat Right Rockdale” coalition. RER also partners with UMC-affiliated Action Ministries in their “Smart Lunch, Smart Kid” initiative, as well as with the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s “Silence the Growl” campaign. “None of us are out here toiling alone,” Peabody commented. “We all work better when we pull together.”
Representatives from RER say that the community can still help make a difference this summer, as there are numerous opportunities to meet needs during the last three weeks of the summer. “There are still days on the calendar available for people to adopt,” noted Jeannine Goggans, lead Summer Lunch Coordinator for RER. “People can contact us at [email protected] to let us know how they want to help. If they can’t adopt a whole day of meals, they can donate funds to RER designated for Summer Lunch or provide in-kind donations of bread, deli meat, chips, or fruit cups.”
For questions or more information, please contact: Andy Peabody at [email protected] or 770-820-8232