Every year, Dr. Pamela Elfenbein from the University of North Georgia organizes a team of her staff and UNG students in the Human Services Delivery and Administration to deliver free meals to underprivileged families during the summer.
Elfenbein, professor of sociology and human activities at UNG, began her mission to revitalize the Summer Food Service Program’s initiative in response to 2018’s large number of requested meals: recorded at 78,000 requests in total by Foster, the director of the SFSP at UNG. Since its foundation in 2012, “the SFSP has served well over 100,000 meals,” Elfenbein said.
This food service program is a student-oriented community outreach development that brings a meaningful impact to all qualifying families. According to the University of North Georgia, “The program’s acceptance requirements are the same for all race, nationality, sex, age or disability.” Providing for eligible community members indiscriminately will allow the maximum amount of qualifying recipients to be delivered to.
“This summer, the SFSP is anticipating to serve 378 children on a daily basis in Forsyth County. Last year, 800 children were served daily in Hall and Forsyth counties,” said J.K. Devine, an UNG communications and public relations staff member.
Those who qualify for a free meal may include children in households that receive food stamps, benefits under the Food Distribution program or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. To receive free meals at a residential site, eligibility is determined by the household’s children meeting the income guidelines for the reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program.
Throughout the years, UNG’s SFSP team has gained extensive experience in community and family aid through its meal distribution model. This year, volunteers plan to deliver free meals on two separate dates and at four different locations.
Meals will be delivered Monday through Friday starting June 3 to Cumming Elementary School at 540 Dahlonega Hwy., the Glenwood neighborhood at 1545 Atlanta Hwy., Saxony Place Apartments at 1006 Tribble Gap Road and the Bald Ridge neighborhood at 105 Ridgeview Circle.
The Cumming Elementary location will serve breakfast from 8-9:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. All other locations’ serving times vary and only offer lunches: Glenwood delivers between 11:30 a.m. and noon; Saxony Apartments are served between 12:15-12:45 p.m.; the Bald Ridge site’s lunch is from 1-1:30 p.m. every weekday.