Amid a global health pandemic that has overwhelmed many in the Black community financially, the men have devoted their time to obtaining the resources to feed families in need. With the help of Atlanta Public Schools, Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and others, they were able to do so through their “Meals of Love” effort.
“We had to pivot since COVID-19 hit,” Clarke said. “We’ve been feeding 200 families a day, the whole summer, 1,400 meals a day, lunch and dinner.”
Also, they provided families with much-needed technology, including 500 Chromebooks. They also embraced the young entrepreneurs known as the “bottle boys,” who have faced backlash this summer for selling water on the streets of Atlanta. Clarke and Lewis created a training initiative they call Project 79 and provided a curriculum to teach the young men entrepreneurship skills, including discipline and the importance of teamwork.
“[We want them to] learn how to value the money, learn how to make the money, learn how to do customer service and be a value to the community without wrecking the community,” Clarke said.
Even with all the work they’ve done, the founders are still looking to do more. As their funding has come to an end, they are asking the Black community to step up and participate in their upcoming fundraiser, Unity Week, powered by The L.E.W.I.S. Agency. The weeklong event will take place Aug. 21-28, 2020.
“We got off to a good start [with] over $1 million, but now we need the public to stop judging the source of our funding for the foundation, and realize the value of our hearts and help us continue to feed Atlanta, and uplift our boys,” Lewis said.
To learn more about I’m A Father F1rst, donate or volunteer, visit imafatherf1rst.org.
Images by Marlon R. Photography