Progress from the Collective Effort


This May, WFF launched a new volunteerism initiative aimed at addressing food insecurity in Historic Westside neighborhoods. In addition to serving a critical need for residents, WFF’s Meal Packs program offers a virtual volunteerism opportunity to corporations, civic groups, and individuals. WFF’s Chief Development Officer, Cristel Williams explains part of what gave rise to the program: “We helped stand up this effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognizing the strong desire of people across Atlanta to make a difference at this time, while protecting their health and the health of others.” WFF launched the Meal Packs program in collaboration with Simpson Street Church of Christ in Vine City to address the needs of Westside youth experiencing food insecurity. The packs being distributed through the church are designed as a weekend bridge for families who are taking advantage of food distributions during the week. Volunteers can participate via two virtual/contactless options: Donating food online—with the help of standard shopping lists—and having it delivered directly to Simpson Street; or by purchasing food and delivering it to the church themselves. A significant corporate supporter of the program so far has been Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA). In July, MBUSA’s Corporate Social Responsibility team organized a group of employees to collect, sort, pack, and deliver 4,000 pounds of food to Simpson Street Church. WFF continues to engage additional corporations and groups to join the effort virtually. For more information and to volunteer, email


“The jobs are out there. The trick is, during these times, to get people to leave the house to apply.” This is the challenge and opportunity Integrity Transformations C.D.C.’s C.E.O., Howard Beckham, sees. And it’s why he is leading an effort to bring job opportunities directly to the Westside. For their part, Integrity provides case management, intake, recruiting, and referral of job seekers. The organization has begun executing pop-up recruiting events at locations throughout the Westside. The Integrity team is taking to the streets in two customized buses, fitted with laptops and mobile hotspots. Following strict health protocols, Integrity is conducting their events in a low-contact mode. Jobseekers board the buses to complete a short registration form and online job application. Upon completion, the client is assigned a case manager and scheduled for a virtual interview to assess their needs. Integrity is actively making connections with nonprofits who already serve residents to identify individuals looking for opportunities. For those who are not ready to be hired immediately, Integrity is offering free training courses. The organization is also referring individuals to other, wraparound service providers, as appropriate. “We want to be the community facing organization that connects individuals with the services they need,” Howard Beckham says. For more information on Integrity C.D.C.’s Community Job Connection initiative, click here or email: