BROOKHAVEN, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — A new food pantry at the Latin American Association is ready to help residents in the Buford Highway Corridor. Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the occasion on March 5, 2021.

“We’re proud and honored now, with the help of the City of Brookhaven and CARES funding, to be able to re-open our food pantry,” said LAA CEO Santiago Marquez. The City of Brookhaven helped fund the renovation and re-opening with a $25,000 grant, providing a larger space and a freezer to store protein and other perishable items. “When the pandemic hit, all the employees left. They all went to work remotely. The food pantry closed,” said Marquez.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic had affected the families that we serve in ways that we never imagined,” said Cynthia Román-Hernandez, the managing director for Family Stabilization and Well Being at the LAA. The LAA partnered with other organizations and held 74 food distribution events last year, serving over 10,000 families and disbursing over 350,000 pounds of food. They also disbursed over $800,000 in financial assistance for homeless prevention, and now, their food pantry is back open. “We’re very grateful and humble to have the Brookhaven City to trust us and to continue this serving the community,” said Román-Hernandez.

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They joined the city in supporting working families disproportionately hit by the pandemic. “We recognized these challenges, and that’s why we offered CARES Act funding to provide rent relief and electricity bill payments,” said Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst. “Our work continues here with the LAA to help feed families in need.”

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Families will be served by appointment each week on a first-come, first-served basis.