ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Food insecurity is on the rise as the pandemic has up-ended the economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says nearly three million families were unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their kids at times last year.

For volunteers with Community Teen Coalition, it’s a chance to give back.

“We did actually grow up in this community, so that was a plus, being able to come back and give back to the same community that we grew up in,” said Thomas Gumes, volunteer with Community Teen Coalition.

Gumes and his cousin, Dominic Stokes, grew up in the southwest Atlanta community, where some have trouble affording food.

“A lot of families just need - they're just in need,” said Gumes.

So Community Teen Coalition is working to fill the gaps.

“The need as intensified, it's increased. We just want to provide a meal for families for the day where they don't have to worry about cooking,” said Stokes, founder of Community Teen Coalition. “Families are still recovering from the beginning of the pandemic. Many lost jobs, lost hours, and so we want to overlook the basic necessities, like food."

Already, the program has provided over 35,000 meals during the pandemic, and it has made the difference in the lives.

“I really do appreciate it. It brings unity, when everybody comes out,” said Carmen Martin.

Community Teen Coalition has provided COVID-19 financial relief for past due rent, utilities, student support, and food assistance to families living in Clayton, South DeKalb, and South Fulton. Community Teen Coalition is a youth college preparatory program that provides academic enrichment and social entrepreneurship training. The program provides services such as academic instruction, financial literacy, mentoring, life skill and cultural enrichment activities.


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