The Intown Food Pantry is located in the McIver Building on the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church Campus, 1026 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306.
Every Saturday, the Food Pantry seeks to alleviate the immediate hunger of our neighbors experiencing food insecurity while providing guests with a sense of dignity and control. As a client choice food pantry, we provide a selection of shelf-stable foods, fresh baked goods, produce, and refrigerated meats and dairy from which our guests can choose.
Guests customize their selections to best fit their unique situation and prepare a week’s worth of meals for their family. This year, we experienced a 14% increase over last year in the number of guests seeking assistance from the pantry. On average, we serve 150 guests each week in the pantry. The weekly guest count has increased each year since 2014, when we served 99 guests each week, on average.
We operate Food Co-ops at two low-income housing units on Ponce de Leon Avenue, providing food security and community-building for 49 of our neighbors. Co-op members join and pay only $10 per month to receive over $100 worth of groceries of their choosing twice a month, including fresh fruits and vegetables. We believe that every member has gifts to offer and that gathering in community regularly leads to fuller, healthier lives. All members perform tasks from planning and running meetings, ordering food, collecting dues, and checking in on members who are missing. The role of Intown Collaborative Ministries staff is to facilitate and coordinate the members in their leadership roles. Our co-ops are place-based; only individuals who live in either Briarcliff Summit or Booth Towers apartments are able to join the co-ops.
Looking for more information on how to start a food co-op in your community? Talk to our friends at Urban Recipe.
Seniors and low-income neighbors are more likely to be socially isolated than the general population, with disturbing results. According to the National Academy of Sciences, social isolation leads to greater risk of health issues, like heart disease and depression. Among seniors, those who are socially isolated were 26% more likely to die than their peers. Our Food Co-ops combat just this social isolation. We believe that everyone in our co-ops has gifts to offer and that gathering in community regularly leads to fuller, healthier lives. Our staff works hard to bring out these gifts among our members, who must be active participants in the operation of the co-ops. As we value empowerment, we hired one of the co-op members as our assistant director. All members perform tasks from planning and running meetings, ordering food, arranging for pick-up and delivery, collection dues, handing out name-tags, and checking in on members who are missing.
Poverty rates have more than doubled in metro Atlanta in the past decade. More than 1 in 10 seniors in Georgia lives in poverty. Our average co-op member lives on less than $800/month. The average SNAP (food stamp) benefit is $20.Co-op member join and pay only $10 per month to receive $100 worth of food. The food co-ops allow them to spend less on food and more on other life necessities like rent, utilities, medicine and transportation.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, food insecure people are at greater risk for food-related illnesses like diabetes and obesity. This is due to in large part to lack of access to healthy food, which is either too expensive or of lower-quality for poor people. In the past 12 months, Intown increased our focus on providing fresh produce and successfully launched a produce option at our co-ops. We increased by over 300% the amount of fresh produce—from less than 3 pounds/month to 10 pounds/month—that our members receive. Our members enjoy the mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, squash, broccoli, beans, apples, and peaches. We are working with local chefs to provide cooking demonstrations to members can more fully enjoy their more healthy food.
Come by yourself or sign up a whole group on a Saturday from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM. The Pantry utilizes 20 volunteers every week with no training needed. Youth groups and supervised children as young as 7 years old are welcome to volunteer!
The Food Pantry sources food from the Atlanta Community Food Bank and donations from supporting organizations, such as local churches and synagogues, organizational food drives, Concrete Jungle, SPARK Elementary School and Paideia School.