Grove Park, other hungry neighborhoods to receive meals with help from Mercedes Benz
By David Pendered
Residents of the hard-hit Grove Park neighborhood on Friday were among the first to receive meals prepared and delivered by Mercedes Benz USA as part of its new program to deliver food and help other organizations feed needy residents in Atlanta during the COVID-19 shutdown.
The company intends to donate a total of 7,000 meals, to be prepared from scratch in the company’s cafeteria in Sandy Springs. Meals are to be delivered to Grove Park residents at a rate of 1,000 a week through the end of May through the company’s relation with PAWkids and Second Helpings Atlanta, according to a statement released Friday.
Eight entrees are to be prepared and the menu includes, to name three examples:
- “Grilled Chicken & Penne Pasta w/ Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms, Asparagus in a Garlic Herb Cream Sauce;
- “Chili Con Carne with Kidney beans over Spanish Rice with Roasted Poblano and Red Onion Relish topped with Queso Fresco;
- “Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Casserole with Mushrooms.”
In addition, MBUSA is donating the use of nine Sprinter vans that have been converted for food transport by three organizations that deliver food in Atlanta – Atlanta Public Schools, Open Hand Atlanta and Second Helpings Atlanta.
For Grove Park, the timing couldn’t be better. A grim email was sent Wednesday by Debra Edelson, executive director of the Grove Park Foundation, a non-profit seeking to help residents improve the neighborhood.
In the email, Edelson described the pending loss of housing faced by residents who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustenance is not cited in the email, but is a clear a challenge in the conditions Edelson describes and for which she seeks donations:
- “Grove Park Foundation is making a commitment to help prevent the displacement of Grove Park residents because of the COVID-19 crisis. We know that 75% of employed residents work in the service industry and are experiencing immediate and drastic loss of income. The vast majority of those neighbors are renters, making them even more vulnerable to displacement.”
The meals delivered by PAWkids and Second Helpings are prepared in the cafeteria at the company’s headquarters in Sandy Springs.
“During this unprecedented trial, when many of our neighbors are facing great emotional and economic uncertainty, we want to work with our partners, here in our own home town, to ensure that they do not also have to go to bed hungry,” Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of MBUSA, said in the statement.
The program that started Friday is named, MBUSA Curbside Caring. It’s an initiative of the company’s Greatness Lives Here program, which is MBUSA’s philanthropic method of giving to the community.
In establishing Greatness Lives Here, the company determined that a unique gift it can give the community is its marketing expertise. Greatness Lives Here provides selected grassroots organizations with a short documentary video, directed and produced by internationally known filmmaker Henry Corra, and a host of other supportive initiatives. The program is in addition to more familiar outreach such as volunteer days and financial contributions to non-profits.
Speeks’ remarks concluded:
- “We are proud to have such partners, proud to make our contribution but deeply humbled by the selflessness of those working on the front line and by the cheerfulness and resilience of those in distress. In such circumstances, when we have an opportunity to hold out our hand to individuals and families in dire need, we count ourselves very fortunate to be able to do so.”