SWEEAC Delivers Groceries Straight to Clients’ Doorsteps Amidst COVID-19

SWEEAC’s food pantry before COVID-19.

In recent months, our partner agencies have adapted their programs to serve clients safely—and the Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC) is among those who have gone the extra mile. 

SWEEAC offers emergency assistance to vulnerable communities in Southwest Atlanta, with a central focus on hunger. In a typical year, their food pantry serves 50,000 clients, who have the opportunity to walk through and pick out groceries they know their families will enjoy. Last year, SWEEAC distributed over one million pounds of food to underserved families. 

COVID-19 made it impossible for them to keep their food pantry open while maintaining proper social distancing. Further, on-site pickup became unrealistic for many families when public transportation services shut down.

“We are in the heart of inner city Atlanta and a number of people here are walkers who don’t have transportation. So, when COVID-19 hit, the bus transportation stopped and it was difficult for people to get to the places they needed to go,” explained SWEEAC Executive Director Ernesta Ingram.

In order to meet their clients’ needs, SWEEAC started a home delivery service, in partnership with the City of Atlanta and other area nonprofits. Three times a week, dedicated volunteers deliver food right to people’s doorsteps. 

Many of these volunteers are former SWEEAC clients themselves. “We have a number of people who came to our doors and asked for help—and then eventually came back wanting to volunteer. The need became, because we were working long hours, that my volunteers needed food,” says Ingram.

Biscuits from D Cafe.

Around this time, SHA saw an influx of prepared food donations from local Atlanta restaurants, thanks to Calendly and Cater2.me. One of these restaurants was D Cafe, a breakfast and brunch spot just a few minutes down the road from SWEEAC. To help feed the volunteers helping with food distribution, SHA coordinated the delivery of three Calendly and Cater2.me donations to provide breakfast and lunch at SWEEAC. The hearty food from D Cafe — hot eggs, grits, turkey bacon, sausage, and more — gave volunteers energy to continue on throughout the day and ensure that clients received the food they needed. 

We love to see our community coming together to make a difference and are grateful to Calendly, Cater2.me, D Cafe, and SWEEAC for providing great food to hard working volunteers and families.