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Helping Free the World from Hunger Begins in This Neighborhood

Co-op staff, St. Nicholas gardeners, and collards.

Brandon interviews Chad Hale about the Food Co-op by Pamela Showalter. Photos by Pamela Showalter

By Brandon Ellis Schuler, Student
One rainy Thursday morning in March the St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy high school students went into the school garden to harvest their overripe collards. They took them over to the food program of the Georgia Avenue Community Ministry. The students learned a lot about the program and how it is making a difference helping neighbors to be free from hunger one step at a time.
The Georgia Avenue Food Cooperative started in 1991 helping families who need food. There are six co-ops of fifty families in each one. When a family would like join a co-op they must be willing to help each time the group gets together, be able to pay a five dollar joining fee and a three dollar fee each time they meet to get food. People join by adding their name to the waiting list. However, the waiting list at the moment is closed as there are already one hundred families waiting to join.
The co-founder of the Georgia Avenue Food Cooperative, Chad Hale, says that his long term goal for the food cooperation “…is to have other churches adopt this method and to switch from food pantries to this.” This is his goal because he believes the co-op approach creates a community with dignity and empowerment. He also says he wishes that they had more space for the organization as they have limited room to store the food they get in between the times the co-ops meet. They get much of their food from different organizations in the area such as Target, Grant Park Farmers Market, and St. Paul’s Methodist Church, but most food comes from the Community Food Bank. They obtain food from the Food Bank for a 16 cent per pound handling fee. Over the year 2012 they will most likely serve over one hundred fifty tons of food.
The Food Cooperative meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Thursday afternoon. Each group meets every other week. Chad Hale says, “It would be a blessing if St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy brought more vegetables from their garden to the food co-op.” The food co-op will take any donation of fresh food to help keep their program going strong. Also, Chad says, “People are welcomed to visit the food co-ops in action. You can see the website at or call us at 404-688-0871.”

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