“We started this in March and it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. So, we are so grateful for folks that show up with tents, that show up with bottled water,” says Jennifer Bartl, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of COR, a nonprofit dedicated to overcoming inequalities in the education system. “Every week, we run out of hand sanitizer because that’s a hot [commodity] right now.”
Prior to the pandemic, COR was located inside Carver High School as part of a drop-in center where students could access a range of support from snacks to mental health services. COR’s goal is to remove non-academic barriers so that students can “come to school, stay at school, and graduate,” Jennifer says. When the school shut down due to the coronavirus, COR moved its operations outside.
“Folks are losing their jobs. The bit of money that they might have had coming in is now gone.”
“We’re working with some of the most vulnerable students in Atlanta. They’re already dealing with poverty and food insecurity coupled with pretty blatant racism,” Jennifer says. At Carver High School, 100% of students receive free or subsidized lunch.
In Atlanta, one in every five people live in poverty, which directly affects an individual’s ability to access healthy, nutritious food. In Georgia, 84% of people purchase inexpensive, unhealthy food to stay within their budget and 40% of people water down their food or drinks.