Although our everyday lives have seemed to come to an abrupt halt, prominent issues in our communities continue to persist. Low-income communities have seen a spike in food insecurity due to the pandemic. Typically, these are the same communities that have limited access to sources of healthy and affordable food. In times of social distancing and an interrupted economy, access to healthy and affordable food has become an even larger issue for communities in food deserts, particularly Atlanta, GA.
School programs and nonprofits that would normally help alleviate food insecurity now face limitations to serve or have closed their doors to the public completely. To combat food insecurity during the COVID-19 quarantine, the Atlanta Police Athletic League (Atlanta PAL), in partnership with Atlanta Parks and Recreation and Atlanta Public Schools, has delivered over 900 meals to local families on a daily basis.
According to Sergeant Flinders of Atlanta PAL, Parks and Recreation and the Atlanta Public Schools have had an established relationship between the three institutions for quite some time, making collaborative efforts much easier to coordinate. In the effort to supply meals to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner times, each institution supplies meals in their own time segment. In the mornings, Atlanta Public Schools supply meals, by the afternoon parks and recreation supplies their share while ATL PAL directs efforts to the communities in the greatest need.
Atlanta PAL also proactively planned to supply residents with grocery items for home meals during spring break. During which time, other food delivery systems temporarily close for the break. Taking their servitude a step further, PAL officers have adjusted their personal schedules and their duties to ensure as many needs are met as possible.
"Whether as first responders, coaches, mentors, and now, in our role delivering meals to the community, the officers at Atlanta PAL have proven themselves to be versatile, compassionate, and responsive to the needs of the youth and families we serve." says Sergeant Flinders.
In times of crisis, it is our public servants and volunteers that keep our communities bonded. National PAL would like to thank our law enforcement officers and non-profit volunteers who selflessly strengthen our communities when we need it most. Atlanta PAL has served as the perfect example of community policing and working with fellow state services to meet the needs of Atlanta residents.