Before we go into the experience and topic of the blog, I want to say a few things about poverty, people in need, charity and how you can help. In the world, there are many people in poverty. Sometimes, we are forgetting that we are so lucky and blessed to be in the safe and stable positions we are in now.
Even kids like me, forget that sometimes, we take things for granted and we don’t respect the things we are given. We always want things that we don’t need. Even adults want things that they don’t need. We never take the time to be thankful for what we have already and we never use our own money wisely, burning it by spending it on frivolous things that we don’t need.
As we collect more data on poverty, we set limits on what defines poverty. We cannot define poverty because we are not experiencing it. These definitions of poverty are invalid. I looked at the Poverty Guidelines Chart designed by the Atlanta Food Bank. It says, for a family of 5, just only $2,557 combined monthly income is necessary to be considered as not poor. This is invalid.
In math, we are doing a STEAM project on people in need and poverty. We each got partners and a specified true scenario that was not created by anyone. Our scenario was that we were a couple with 3 kids. Our combined monthly income was $3,120. But, after spending $3,054 on expenses, (taxes, transportation, utilities, etc.) we only had $66 left to spend on food and other necessities. As you can see, this is not sufficient for a family of 5. If $2,557 is necessary for a family to not be in poverty, then how is this family in poverty?
Now we can delve into my experience at Meals By Grace.
Meals by Grace is a non-profit organization founded by Sullen Daniels to help people in need in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. It is an entirely volunteer-based workforce and only has 3 employees. It is built to donate food to people in need in Atlanta.
When we arrived at Meals By Grace, we separated into groups. The groups were the Laundry and Detergent Team, which would be responsible for putting detergent in bottles. The Kitchen Team would be responsible for packaging food. The Produce Team would be responsible for distributing food in boxes for the families that are in need. Then comes the Bread and Desserts Team which is responsible for distributing desserts and bread to the boxes. Then, we have the Driving Team, which is responsible for actually delivering the food to the families in need. Lastly, we have the Encouragement Team, which is responsible for writing encouragement letters to families in need so that they can feel encouraged and motivated.
I was on the Produce Team. While working with the Produce team, I realized that they had a lot of food to distribute. I found out there that Meals By Grace could get food for 8c a pound. If a dollar had 100c then Meals By Grace could get 12.5 pounds of food with just one dollar. I also realized that at least 95% of the food that we were distributing was from Kroger. The rest was from Publix, Amazon Storage etc. I also realized that all the food that we were distributing was past its expiration date. That’s when I realized why Kroger and other stores were giving out all this food, the food was past its expiration date. “Interesting,” I thought.
There were specific distribution instructions for families that have over 5 people and that have 4 or below. I noticed that there wasn’t an actual variety of foods for these families. It was mostly spinach and a couple of meats and fruits. We also had to put tags on the boxes that we were putting the food in to make sure that the food was going to the right family. We also covered the food with plastic bags to make sure it does not spoil. After we were completely done with distributing, we went to help all the other sections. I went to help the Encouragement Team. I wrote a bunch of cards before it was finally time to go. Going to Meals by Grace was a really fun experience and I hope that you will go too!