Food insecurity is a pressing issue that has been exacerbated due to the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and individuals are stepping up to provide relief. According to WSB-TV, singer Usher donated meals to Atlanta-based families in need to ensure they had access to healthy food options amid the public health crisis.
The donation was made through his nonprofit Usher’s New Look Foundation. The organization—which was founded in 1999—provides mentorship and leadership programming for underserved youth in an effort to eliminate socio-economic barriers surrounding education. Usher teamed up with Chef Shay, the creator of Atlanta’s Veganaire restaurant, to cook over 350 vegan meals to donate to the Clayton County Public Schools food pantry. “We really wanted to offer them just some comfort, some food, and also let them know that they are not forgotten,” he told the news outlet.
Morcease Beasley, who serves as the superintendent of Clayton County Public Schools, says the initiative furthered their efforts to rally around the county’s students and provide support during this unprecedented time. “Anyone who sees the value of our children, I’m grateful,” he told The Clayton News. “It’s an excellent extension of what we’re already doing in Clayton County.” Aside from combating food insecurity, Usher’s organization is leading other COVID-19 relief efforts including mental health and wellness initiatives, emergency financial assistance and virtual curriculum-based programming for youth.
Many music artists are using their resources and platforms to support Atlanta residents. Songstress Janelle Monáe, her collective of artists dubbed the Wondaland Arts Society, the catering company Gate Gourmet and an organization dubbed Project Isaiah joined forces to distribute over 5,000 free meals to individuals in need.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there has been a 30 to 40 percent increase in the number of individuals getting meals from food drives in Atlanta.