Students at Ronald McNair Middle School in College Park were surprised Thursday afternoon with a visit from Grammy-nominated rapper and McNair alumnus Gunna.
Through partnership between Gunna, also known as Sergio Kitchens, and Atlanta based non-profit Goodr, McNair Middle opened ‘Gunna’s Drip Closet and Goodr Grocery Store,’ where students can get food, toiletries, new shoes and clothes for free.
McNair is a Title I school meaning they are eligible for federal funding based on a high percentage of students living in poverty. Gunna has been working with Goodr since 2018 but this is their first collaboration of this kind.
Goodr founder and CEO Jasmine Crowe said they have already begun to get some positive feedback from parents and teachers at McNair.
“These are things I said I was gonna do when I got in a position to do it so I just gotta follow that,” Gunna explained.
Goodr is an Atlanta-based social impact startup leveraging technology to reduce food waste and end hunger, to continue providing support in their efforts to combat food insecurity during the current COVID-19 crisis for the most vulnerable populations: senior citizens and low-income students who rely on subsidized school meals for daily nourishment.
“We believe that hunger isn’t a scarcity issue. It’s a logistics issue,” according to the mission statement on Goodr’s website. “Goodr provides a secure ledger that tracks an organization’s surplus food from pickup to donation, delivering real-time social and environmental impact reporting analytics. The Goodr model aims to provide a triple-win solution by improving an organization’s bottom line through charitable tax donations, reducing its greenhouse emissions from landﬁlls and getting its edible surplus food to local communities in need.”
In addition to shelf stable items, the grocery store at McNair is stocked with fresh produce and frozen meals, including options for vegetarian and pescatarian families.
Families and students are able to request anything they need through the Goodr App or website. Crowe says about 900 students could benefit from the new program. Moreover, the shelves will be restocked weekly.
As Gunna walked the halls of his old school, he visited classrooms and made an announcement on the telecom for the students at McNair.
“I want them to learn that you can be anyone you want to be, you can be anything you want to be because look at me. I did what I wanted to do and I went to the same school that they went to,” Gunna, exclusively speaking to The Atlanta Voice.
The mayor of the City of South Fulton, Bill Edwards, presented Gunna with a proclamation saying September 16 has been named Gunna Day in the city.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Mayor and City Council recognizes Gunna for his service to the community, applauds his outstanding contributions to the music industry, acknowledges him for setting a stellar example to the young people in our community, and do hereby proclaim, Thursday, September 16, 2021, as SERGIO GIOVANNI ‘GUNNA’ KITCHENS DAY in the City of South Fulton,” read the document.
“Many of our athletes and musicians leave and they do not come back and you came back to give,” Edwards said.
Crowe said she hopes to continue to do more work like this in schools throughout Atlanta as Goodr continues its work around ending food insecurity.
Although Gunna and Crowe are serving the community, that did not stop them from receiving negative comments prior and opening the Store.
Great idea….now give our people life thru the food we put in our bodies….this food is furnished by big pharmaceutical companies…setting the stage for poor health and dependency on hypertension and diabetes medication. Get with the program…make the change now!
— Jay Ora (@jjethroo) September 17, 2021
Despite a small number of people disagreeing with what was stocked on the shelf, Crowe believes her program will continue to grow and attract devoted and passionate donors.
“Thanks to everyone asking how to donate. I love that. What I hope to do is find funding to open more stores across the country or have more partners. It’s a journey but I am looking forward to it,” Crowe said in a tweet.
Gunna also gave credit to the amazing work that Goodr does to combat food insecurity. “This is not just me. It’s me and my team, who always help me and make sure all my giveaways are run right and that everyone gets what they need,” he said.
Gunna told the Atlanta Voice that there will be more projects across the city of Atlanta.
“I do the Gunna Greatest Giveaway every year. I am going on my fourth annual year. I plan to do this for the rest of my life,” he said.