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Shad Sims, Atmos Energy’s Regional Operations Manager, presents Hunger2Hope Executive Director Beth Gardner a check for $10,000. The money will help Hunger2Hope’s efforts under the umbrella of The Church United to provide non-perishable food boxes for evening and weekend meals while children are away from school. Distribution sites Monday and Friday from 5-7 p.m. are Crosspointe Church in Olive Branch, Hunger2Hope in Southaven, and the new DeSoto County Dream Center on Windchase Drive in Horn Lake. More than 2,000 boxes have been distributed.

The escalating public health crisis is responsible for an unprecedented number of school closures, layoffs and economic disruptions across the country, and millions of students who depend on school food programs for their next meal also have parents whose jobs are at risk or have been eliminated due to the pandemic.

The Atmos Energy/Robert W. Best Charitable Giving Fund has announced a $10,000 contribution to Hunger2Hope where students and families affected by the coronavirus outbreak can access a steady supply of nutritious meals during these uncertain times.

“As the federal guidelines to maintain social distancing were extended through April 30, unemployment will likely continue to rise and children may not have access to school meals in the foreseeable future,” said Bobby Morgan, Atmos Energy Vice President of Public Affairs. “Atmos Energy is committed to helping our communities, and we made this donation to support families who need assistance in finding their next meal.”

Recent data indicates that 37 million U.S. citizens face hunger – a number that is sure to climb as the nation tackles a public health crisis in which spiking unemployment and lost wages will play an outsize role. For more than 50 years, food banks have combated hunger by acting as food storage and distribution depots for front line agencies that interact directly with those in need.

“Our region feels the emotional and economic effects of this pandemic, and we are so very appreciative of Atmos Energy’s generous contribution to the fight against hunger,” said Beth Gardner, Executive Director of Hunger2Hope. “We are now even better equipped to fulfill our mission and make sure that those in our community who need a helping hand have access to nutritious meals for themselves and their families.”

The Atmos Energy/Robert W. Best Charitable Giving Fund makes contributions that advance its focus on three pillars of outreach – health, education, and community welfare.