Helping Hands Ending Hunger was conceived around Thanksgiving 2015 when a teacher asked for help to purchase food for baskets for some elementary students whose families had been seen digging through the dump after a football game. The children had come to school after the weekend crying because their bellies hurt; they were hungry and couldn’t even begin to focus on school or learn. Teachers put together one-time food baskets, but it wasn’t enough.
Impacted by the fact that families in our community were hungry in a day and age where everyone seems to have so much and noting all of the food waste that occurred in school, the path was simple and clear: rescue school cafeteria food waste and give it to the families in need whenever they need it. No family should ever want for food, and no child should ever have to worry when or where they will get their next meal.
The journey turned out to be a rocky one because of long-enforced restrictions in the food service rules applicable to school cafeterias. A bright-line prohibition existed: once sold to a student, food could not be shared with another student during a meal, and even unopened, uneaten, untouched food had to be thrown in the trash afterward. Determined not to accept the status quo, we worked to find a way to get this food to the children that need it the most. We learned that the law permits food donations, and once donated food is removed from the school cafeteria, the rules no longer apply. Therefore, we developed a food donation program that operates outside of the food service rules.
Our efforts have paid off. Now armed with a food-safe Operational Plan, Helping Hands food program has received international recognition. Our focus: school, governmental, business, and charitable collaborations that are making a demonstrable difference in the lives of the children and families we serve.
Live Healthy Chattooga County promotes improved health and well-being for all who live, work and play in the Chattooga County community.
Making changes in a community to support healthy choices requires collaborative effort and a commitment to health in decision making processes. The core values adopted early on by Live Healthy Chattooga County serve as a measure of success for the work of the coalition and the implementation of the community health improvement plan.
Improvements in access to healthcare and needed services, more efficient collaboration between health care partners, community organizations and residents, an increased understanding of the underlying social determinants that affect the health of Chattooga County residents, and an emphasis in promotion of healthy lifestyles and prevention efforts across community environments will lead to a healthier community overall.
To ensure success in addressing the community health needs and priorities identified by this process requires an on-going, community-wide effort. The Live Healthy Chattooga County Coalition will continue to lead diverse partners, organizations, and residents in a learning community to assess and examine emerging challenges and revisit priorities, share best practices and methods in their area of work, and develop new strategies around improving health.
The Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth was created in 1989 by the Georgia General Assembly (House Bill 789). Below are excerpts from the legislation: