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Special Programs

 Local Food Systems & Nutrition

Help Us Grow

Help Us Grow (HUG) is Covenant House's new gardening social enterprise designed to empower homeless youth through local food! Did you know that 57% of homeless youth spend at least one day each month without food? For most of our youth, nutritious, well-balanced meals were a luxury during their childhood. At CHGA, we aim to help our youth understand the importance of local food systems and give them the opportunity to participate. With support from Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability, the Food Well Alliance, and Carlyle’s Catering, the youth at CHGA are meeting demand for local seedlings and produce, all while learning about social enterprise. The purpose of the project is three-fold:

  • Enterprise: One of the most important steps to escaping homelessness is employment. Through HUG, youth are learning transferable business skills and being introduced to alternative career paths.
  • Garden Therapy: A study by Bristol University showed that bacteria in soil trigger the same neurological response as anti-depressant drugs. Through gardening, we encourage our youth to naturally alleviate their depression and anxiety and increase their ability to interact healthily with others. As it turns out, helping things grow provides them with the opportunity to heal & grow themselves!
  • Education & Nutrition: Learning about nutrition is often something that our youth don't have the chance to do even though it is critical to leading a healthy lifestyle. We take this opportunity to not only teach them and help them understand the importance of nutrition, but also to provide them with healthy nutrition now. The organic vegetables grown in the garden are often used by our chef in the meals we serve to the youth.

The mission of CHGA is to help suffering children of the streets, and the launching of HUG is an important step in bringing these youth from homelessness to hope. 


For more information, contact Jillian Robinson at jrobinson@covenanthouse.org. 


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