Mercedes-Benz USA employees pack emergency kits for The Salvation Army into vehicles at the company’s headquarters in Sandy Springs. Items were donated by members of the Disaster Action Alliance, a coalition of local corporations and nonprofits created two years ago to offer aid during natural disasters.

With children out of school, businesses temporarily closing, performances shuttered and workers being laid off, there has never been a time where community support and financial resources have been more badly needed. Luckily, community organizations, foundations and businesses have already announced they will pour millions of dollars into relief efforts in Atlanta to weather the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta have created the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. The new fund will support those most vulnerable to the economic and health-related impacts caused by the pandemic.
The Community Foundation is committing $1 million and United Way of Greater Atlanta is contributing $500,000 to seed the fund. The Arthur M. Blank Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation have each donated $5 million to the fund.
Additional dollars will be sought from individual donors, corporate partners and foundations.
Funds raised will focus on providing crucial services to high-risk audiences including seniors, families with children who normally receive free or reduced meals at school, families in need of childcare, homeowners and renters at risk for eviction, and hourly/low-wage workers. To donate to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, click here.
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has announced a $100,000 grant to Hands On Atlanta so 31 AmeriCorps volunteers can offer virtual tutoring and social emotional learning coaching as well as supporting food distribution to students and families in need throughout three school districts in Atlanta. Without this funding, Hands On Atlanta was at risk of losing these positions due to school closures. These funds are also supporting Hands On Atlanta to provide the infrastructure for volunteer efforts across the Metro area during this crisis.

With an increased demand for police presence throughout Atlanta, the Blank Foundation is also providing $100,000 to the Atlanta Police Foundation to maintain adequate staffing levels and ensure the safety of officers through the enhanced sanitation of police facilities and the provision of personal sanitation supplies to police officers and other essential city employees.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, part of Arthur Blank’s Family of Businesses, donated 3.5 tons of surplus of food ($100,000 value), providing more than 2,310 meals to six nonprofit groups in Atlanta – Veterans Empowerment Organization (VEO), Atlanta Mission, Atlanta City Baptist Rescue Mission, Gateway Center, Hope House, and Salvation Army: Red Shield Services.

Local medical  professionals and homeless men, women and families received essential hygienic supplies on Wednesday when Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) delivered 500 emergency kits to The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Red Shield Shelter, a 320-bed facility located in the heart of downtown. The kits, donated by MBUSA, Alston & Bird, The Coca-Cola Company and IHG, include critical items such as face masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Tyvek suits.
The Georgia Power Foundation is investing $1 million to address food insecurity, homelessness, and displaced workers assistance due to the impact of COVID-19. In light of the pandemic and related shutdowns that have affected families across Georgia, the company announced recently that it would suspend residential disconnections.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.