Cars were lined up and down the street of nonprofit organization, Hosea Helps, Saturday morning where the organization held their annual Thanksgiving drive-thru to hundreds of metro Atlanta families.
Food insecurity is at an all-time high and nearly 1 in 8 Georgians is living with food insecurity, including 1 in 6 children. In the 29-county service area, 1 in 9 people are affected, including 1 in 7 children, according to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
A complete Thanksgiving meal, sponsored by Kroger and Publix, included meal boxes with turkeys, green beans, and other items. Handfuls of volunteers also were in attendance helping the Atlanta community get their Thanksgiving meal boxes and other items.
Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Helps, said the work they do is crucial and demonstrates what one individual can do.
“I think there’s a lot of hopelessness in our community today and the problems we have, we just sit with them because there’s nothing we can do,” she said. Hosea Helps is important because it demonstrates what one person can do and showcases what a group of people who get together can make an impact on our community. We don’t have to wait for some savior or some leader. We’re the leader we’re waiting for. So that demonstration and the rhetoric that it creates, the sense of community is very important.”
Omilami said she feels bittersweet when she saw all the cars lined up waiting to receive their Thanksgiving boxes and supplies.
“I’m excited and overjoyed Hosea Williams, who started this organization in 1971, worked as the chief of field organizer for Martin Luther King. I think answering the call of our ancestors is very important and we’re able to do that, but it shouldn’t be like this in America,” she said. “Matter of fact, that’s how this organization was founded in the first place. He saw the 1971 homeless man beating out of a garbage can. He said, ‘Why are you eating out of a garbage can with all this wealth in Atlanta?’ He said he hadn’t eaten in three days, and so he began feeding these men and one man is now 51,000 people fed a year. So, I am excited about the new generation. We need their skill set and we need their help, and we want them to go to the website, register to volunteer and to give and to get involved.”
Atlanta resident, Katrice Langston along with her three children said she is grateful for Hosea Helps and she comes every year to get Thanksgiving meals and supplies.
“Hosea Helps is truly a blessing to me and my family. Folks don’t really understand that what they do helps families like mine a lot because I can’t afford groceries like I used to, I’m a single parent with three kids who need to be fed especially during the holidays,” she said. “I encourage people to check this out, donate, and come receive their blessings.”
Omilami also said churches need to give back more and help in the community.
“Poverty is a spiritual crime, it’s not an economic, political, or business problem. Our hearts have gotten hard for some reason. I’m not sure why but we’re getting further and further away from that sense of the beloved community that Martin Luther King talked about and it’s in the church where healing must take place,” she said. “It’s the responsibility of the church to do these things we’re doing here today. So, I must call out the pastors. Many of them are doing things but if we could come together, cross borders, and create some big coalition that could make sure that mothers aren’t in hotels and so on so forth.”
Additionally, Omilami gave advice for future generations.
“When you get to the age of 71, you find out that what you thought was important in life isn’t and it’ll break your heart if you don’t have something to fall back on. The Spirit is not going to ask you how well you did in school, how many businesses you got,” she said. “He is going to ask you, did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? Did you give water to the thirsty? What did you do to make humanity more humane during the time that you spent on Earth? So, I want them to find that out before they get 50 like I had to do. Find it out in your 20s, find it out in your 30s and get to work, not just on the climate because that’s important, but human beings are suffering, and you can do something about that.”
To donate, for more information, or to volunteer for future events, visit https://4hosea.org/.