When schools closed in April, students who rely on the county meal programs were no longer receiving their breakfasts and lunches. This is a big deal for families who struggle to afford the extra meals to feed their children.
These were two issues important to Mike and Cristy Thomas, of Roswell, who came up with a great idea. Mike is a local restaurateur and owner of Mike Thomas Group, a restaurant marketing and consulting agency. His wife Cristy is a kindergarten special needs teacher at Esther Jackson Elementary in Roswell. Combining their skill sets they came up with an idea that addressed two very important concerns. The community would buy a school meal gift card at participating restaurants generating much-needed revenue and feed students without access to school lunches. In just two days after schools shut down, Mike and Cristy launched The School Meals Program.
It was simple, really. Customers buy gift cards from participating restaurants and donate the value to a school meal distribution program. The participating restaurants prepare healthy meals based on the amount of gift cards purchased. Volunteers pick up the meals and distribute them to the students in need. The SMP currently serves eight local schools.