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Community Impact: Gwinnett County Public Library

Whether in-person at one of its 15 local branches or online, the Gwinnett County Public Library offers learning labs to give children, teens and adults unique experiences – including its new mobile kitchen.

“The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything for us,” said Jason DiFranco, director of development and community partnerships at Gwinnett County Public Library. “We began doing food distributions and quickly realized the need for nutritional meals in our community. It became our goal to provide opportunities for those in need, not only to receive food, but have access to recipes and cooking lessons, as well. That’s what we offer now with the mobile kitchen.”

The Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded the Gwinnett County Public Library a $15,000 grant to help purchase the mobile kitchen and supporting materials. In July, the kitchen opened to all Gwinnett County residents, traveling to different locations across the county to provide accessible cooking classes.

“The great thing about this program is that it isn’t tied to one specific location, which means that more people will have access to learn. We wanted to make sure no one was limited by a lack of transportation or internet access,” said DiFranco.

Those attending courses at the mobile kitchen will be given more than just access to classes, recipes and food. Part of the Jackson EMC Foundation grant helped provide the kitchen with “Stock Your Cart” products, giving anyone taking the course access to necessary cooking materials, like cutting boards, bowls, mixers, pans and more.

“We’re so thankful for all that the grant has done for this program. Our goal at the Gwinnett Public Library is to be a hub for community support, and this helps us take a step forward,” added DiFranco. “The requests for the mobile kitchen have already been like wildfire. We’re excited to see how this impacts our community and we're grateful to have the continued support of Jackson EMC Foundation.”

To learn more about the Gwinnett Public Library, visit gwinnettpl.org.