Metro Atlanta nonprofits inundated with people seeking food, other help

Metro Atlanta nonprofits inundated with requests for assistance

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Local nonprofits say they have been inundated with people in need of food and other assistance in metro Atlanta due to the coronavirus.

Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik was in North Fulton County at the Community Assistance Center in Sandy Springs, where hundreds of people are coming in for prepackaged bags of food and other assistance.

Communications Director Kristen Ristino said that since the pandemic took hold -- and now that it's spring break -- more families are relying on them for meals.

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"Lots of former clients and people who have never been clients are showing up, asking for financial assistance, utilities and rent and showing up asking for food," Ristono said.

Ristino said the cruel irony is that many of CAC's normal volunteers are senior citizens.

"So they've had to stay home," Ristino said. "We want to protect their health."

That's where volunteers like Jodi Hirschfield have stepped up.

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"I heard there was a need and that volunteers they usually have weren’t able to work, and I knew I could make a difference," Hirschfield said.

Hirschfield said she's now working from home and has more time to volunteer.

“Every day I come here, it’s a known risk that I could be exposing myself. But I wear gloves, I wash my hands constantly," Hirschfield said. "They are constantly reminding us to wash our hands.”

Hirschfield said it's a risk well worth the reward.

"Right now, we all need to be coming together and helping each other," Hirschfield said.

Right now, the facility is open to provide donations Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is using 10 volunteers at a time to help prepare the food and get it ready.

In addition to the drive-up location on Roswell Road, they are also delivering meals to two senior citizen apartment buildings in Sandy Springs.