Operation Meal Plan helps non-profits and local businesses

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on non-profit organizations. Several non-profits just got some extra help from the Cobb Community Foundation, and it will help local businesses as well.

Through Operation Meal Plan, non-profits receive grants that they use to buy food for those they serve from local restaurants and caterers.

"It's a win, win, win for everybody!" said Shari Martin with the Cobb Community Foundation.

"The whole idea of Operation Meal Plan was to find a way to keep restaurant workers employed, and to provide food to the non-profits that are serving food to their clients in need," said Martin.

The Cobb Community Foundation awarded grants to several non-profits. The Zone in Marietta is one of the recipients.  

When COVID-19 hit, the addiction and recovery organization had to expand its services.

"It became very apparent people were hungry. The meals that we serve continued to grow and grow and grow. Last month we served over 2300 meals," said Missy Owen, CEO of The Zone.

With the Operation Meal Plan grant, The Zone can buy food for their clients from any restaurant or caterer in Cobb County.

"It will be such a blessing to have all the boxed food coming in from the restaurants and hopefully it will keep them afloat as well. It's a great, great program and we were ecstatic to be a recipient," said Owen.

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Even as non-profits saw the need increase, volunteers decreased. In many cases, staff members are having to step in to prepare meals on top of their regular duties.

"Not only is this providing some financial relief it's also providing some physical and emotional relief for the non-profits who are having to work so hard just to make sure their clients are being fed," said Martin.

There's one more bonus from Operation Meal Plan, some of the staff members who are usually preparing the food may be able to get a day off to spend the holiday with their families.