May 21, 2019, Marietta, GA – After much discussion with the state and county health officials, MUST Ministries has been informed that they can no longer accept homemade sandwiches for the lunches given to the hungry children during summer lunch. Last summer, MUST provided 259,154 sack lunches in seven counties to feed the most at-risk children.
"This year is the twenty fourth summer that MUST has fed hungry children and we have never had a problem, so this is devastating news for us. And the valuable meal program begins in just two weeks," according to Dr. Ike Reighard, President and CEO of MUST.
"We have been told that only food from a certified kitchen can be served despite the step by step food safety preparation and storage instructions we provide to our donors who make the sandwiches. Generous churches, civic clubs, businesses, neighborhoods and individual families have always donated all of the food and preparation for this important feeding program that serves our youngest, most vulnerable population," he said.
To overcome this situation, MUST has started a Save Our Sandwiches (SOS) campaign so people can donate the money typically spent on purchasing supplies. MUST has entered into an agreement with a national sandwich company who will provide prepackaged sandwiches at a significantly discounted price.
"We are hoping the community will give enough to purchase more than $225,000 in sandwiches to feed the children over the course of 10 weeks," Reighard said. "Our commitment to these children is strong and we intend to feed them, but we need a miracle. That’s what we are praying for and trusting God to provide. We know His heart is for these precious little ones who often eat half of a sandwich for lunch and save the other half, so they will have dinner."
Because of peanut allergies, MUST is focused on meat sandwiches and also provides an optional slice of cheese. The outreach will continue to offer a juice box or bottled water with two snacks like a fruit cup and pretzels. Volunteers drive the lunches primarily to apartment complexes and mobile home communities identified by school counselors as the areas most in need.
To help, just text MUSTSOS to 52182 and make a donation. Donors can also give via Facebook or at mustministries.org donation page. Simply write "Summer Lunch" in the notes.
"We are being flooded by calls of concern," Reighard said, "including from our 17 host sites throughout Cherokee, Cobb, Bartow, Fulton, Gwinnett, Douglas and Pickens counties. Now we just hope that concern will turn into donations, so we can continue giving meals to sustain these children living in poverty right here in our community."