Rising to Meet the Need with Raising Expectations
When Maria Armstrong needed food for the families she serves, she knew just where to look. Armstrong is a co-founder of Raising Expectations, a non-profit established 25 years ago to close gaps in learning and educational opportunities for youth in Atlanta. The group works with students in crisis to facilitate high school graduation and post-secondary success. During the pandemic, Raising Expectations has opened its doors to students who would normally be in school, assisting with virtual studies and offering after-school enrichment.
Knowing that resources are scarce for the families of these students, Armstrong wanted to find a way to assist them. She reached out to Andrea Jaron, Executive Director of Second Helpings Atlanta. Both Raising Expectations and SHA are members of MBUSA’s Greatness Lives Here program, which supports deserving community organizations. Jaron assured Armstrong that she would see what she could do.
Since last spring, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has been preparing 500 meals weekly, which SHA has distributed to partner agencies. At Jaron’s request, MBUSA agreed to supply additional meals, which will permit each of the 50 Raising Expectations students to take home dinner for four one night a week.
For Armstrong, the “Yes we can!” response was a godsend. “The impact of COVID is significant. We’re trying to provide as much relief as we can to the parents of the students we serve. Many are single moms and low-wage essential workers.” Being able to offer school support and a warm meal is a huge boost. She adds, “We can’t do it alone; that’s where Second Helpings Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz USA come in.”
SHA Executive Director Andrea Jaron says matching needs with community resources is one SHA’s most satisfying roles. “Connecting food donors and partner agencies helps change lives. With the generous support of Mercedes-Benz USA, we’re honored to play a part,” she adds.