08:29 AM

Community Impact: New Path 1010

When volunteers from New Path 1010 met with leaders to discuss community needs in Barrow County, one fact weighed heavy on their hearts, according to Candy Greene, director of the nonprofit organization.

“The school system told us that 85 students would not know if they’d eat that weekend,” she said. “Our hearts just broke. For a kid to lack nutrition, that could lead to other issues, like academic and social issues.”

New Path 1010 was founded in 2016 to target the issues of hunger and generational poverty in Barrow County. The organization aims to reach the next generation by meeting peoples’ tangible needs, while providing encouragement, to target the root of generational poverty.

Based on what its volunteers learned about students facing hunger, New Path 1010 started its Weekend Food Bag Program in 2018 to provide food for students who may not have food at home during the weekends.

Initially providing 32 bags a week to two schools, the Weekend Food Bag Program quickly expanded to four Barrow County schools last school year and serving an average of 116 students a week. For the 2019-2020 school year, it will add two more schools to the program – reaching an estimated 158 students to receive food bags each weekend.

“The need was even greater than we anticipated,” Greene said.

The Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to New Path 1010 for its Weekend Food Bag Program to supply students identified as food insecure with bags of food to take home. Along with the Foundation grant and the support of community groups and individuals, Greene also credits volunteers for supplying food bags to students each week.

“I don’t think I anticipated how passionate our volunteers would be,” she said. Each week, a group of volunteers helps pack food in bags, while another group of volunteers deliver the bags to participating schools. At the schools, students are discretely given bags with food for the weekend. The bags may be placed in their backpacks or given to students in nonidentifiable bags. Each bag has enough food for six meals and snacks for the student. There’s also a note of encouragement.

“Our goal is to move these children out of the generational cycle of poverty,” Greene said. “We encourage them.”

For more information about New Path 1010, visit newpath1010.org.