Atlanta, GA

Mar 4th, 2017 to Mar 11th, 2017
Cost: $710.00 Partner Organization(s): Atlanta Community Food Bank, Meals on Wheels Atlanta Service Type: Food/hunger, housing, human services Number of Participants: 8

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements

We plan to stay at the Church of the Epiphany in Downtown Atlanta or in an Airbnb apartment. We will be driving down in two cars to Atlanta on the morning of Saturday March 4, with a pit stop in Charlotte, NC to grab our first meal altogether. At the end of the trip, we will be returning on the 11th.  Unless a participant(s) can provide his or her car, then we will be renting two vehicles that we will use not only to make the trip down to Atlanta, but also to move around the city.

Participants are not required to have any specific skill set, other than to be expected to interact with many members of the Atlanta community and others who volunteers with our group and be empathetic with the people who face these issues. All that we ask is for everyone to have a positive attitude and an open-mind. Be ready to meet new people, experience new things, and think critically about the service!

Regional Background

Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Georgia metropolitan area and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Home to almost 6 million people, Atlanta exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, research, technology, education, media, art, and entertainment. Atlanta functions as the epicenter of a multiplicity of large (and popular) corporations such as CNN, and Coca-Cola, among others. In the 2010 Census, Atlanta was recorded as the nation’s fourth-largest majority-black city. It has long been known as a center of African-American political power, education, and culture.

Though Atlanta boasts a thriving economic and cultural landscape, a study conducted by the Brookings Institute found that the city also has the largest income inequality among all of the nation’s largest 50 cities. In fact, Atlanta’s income inequality levels more than double the national average.

Community Background

According to Feeding America’s 2015 Map of the Meal Gap Study, 18.7 percent of the people in Atlanta are food insecure, which means they are unable to distinguish when and where their next meal will come from. Of the number of children living in the Georgia area, 28.2 percent live in food-insecure households, which translates to one in four children in the area struggle with food insecurity. This interesting part of this issue is the high percentage of families that acknowledge that they deal with “spending trade-offs,” also known as deciding on which immediate needs to pay for with a limited amount of wealth and resources. That means families in Atlanta struggle with paying for food over medicine, housing, utilities, among other vital needs.

Although a large percentage of Atlanta residents are black and the city is known for the population of middle and upper middle class black residents, black individuals disproportionately make up a majority of the clients who receive services that alleviate food insecurity. Additionally, the city has seen an exponential increase in the number of citizens who experience poverty. From 2001 to 2011, the number of poor individuals in the Atlanta metro suburbs more than doubled, growing by 159 percent. Georgia also remains one of the two states in the US with a minimum wage rate below the federal rate, which means minimum wage employees are paid $5.15/hour. This begs us to ask the question: What resources, programs, and initiatives prove to be the most efficient and immersive to alleviate these community issues? Are any of these empowering to those who suffer firsthand? Moreover, we ask that participants stay vigilant to exactly who they recognize as the people that battle with these issues on a daily-basis.

Recreational Activities

Atlanta provides many recreational opportunities. On our first full day in Atlanta, we plan to visit the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, or the High Museum of Art, among others. Later in the week, we’ll immerse ourselves into the treasures of the city such as Ponce City Market and the Beltline, a manmade trail and greenspace in the middle of the city that holds a beautiful array of street art. We are totally open to suggestions and doing things on the fly!

Service Activities

Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) is an organization that focuses on working with partner agencies like local food pantries, childcare centers, night shelters, and senior centers to provide food and critical resources for families and individuals in the metro Atlanta and North Georgia areas. Specifically, we will be doing different service activities ranging from working in the ACFB warehouse and their community garden to directly volunteering at some of their partner locations preparing food. ACFB also does a great workshop that we will participate in called “Hunger 101” where we will learn more about hunger and poverty in Atlanta.

In addition, we will be working with Meals on Wheels Atlanta. This service will entail packaging and delivering food to elderly members of the Atlanta community. In addition, we will view presentations discussing the community impact of this work and the challenges the organization faces in providing their services.

Site Leader Descriptions

Ashley is a third year Foreign Affairs and History double-major.  You can find her at Roots Natural Kitchen whipping up the El Jeffes. In addition, she likes to laugh, cuddle and smile.
Samantha is a fourth year finishing her studies in Foreign Affairs and Women, Gender, and Sexuality. When she’s not drowning in a massive amount of reading and writing, you can find her in AFC convincing herself that she likes to run when she really doesn’t. She also takes part in volunteering for Madison House, fulfilling her role as a mod for Sustained Dialogue, or finding the perfect (worst) times to have discourse about popular memes.  She thoroughly enjoyed Atlanta last year on her trip (with Ashley as her partner in crime) and can’t wait for you all to experience Hotlanta!