Colleen Magel didn’t realize so many children suffered from chronic hunger – in her own community – until she helped deliver MUST Summer Lunches. Now she’s found a way to combat hunger through her daily work as a restaurant manager.
Serving as a Summer Lunch volunteer, Colleen delivered healthy bagged meals to children who receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year, but often go hungry when school is out. In 2017, supporters donated food, assembled lunch bags and delivered more than 275,830 meals to children in six counties of northwest metro Atlanta.
“I saw the kids running out to get their lunches. I saw their living conditions, and I realized they’re in our neighborhood,” Colleen says. “It tugged at me, and I realized I needed to do something.”
Colleen prayed intently, then drew up a business plan and talked with her boss, Paul Dalrymple, at Buffalo’s Café on Highway 41 in Kennesaw. He agreed to begin opening the restaurant for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Colleen calls the initiative “Arise Kitchen,” and half the gross food sales are donated to hunger causes – divided between MUST Ministries and an organization she chose that serves in West Africa.
“This makes good sense for us locally because we’re a community. It fits with our mission as a business,” Colleen says. “Hunger is dear to God’s heart. I drive in these neighborhoods all the time, but now I see the area differently. When you know the children, it changes everything.”