Grandparent-led homes face lack of resources ahead of holidays

Grandparent-led homes face lack of resources ahead of holidays
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 5:32 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Some of Georgia’s oldest caretakers face a lack of resources with no signs of improvement, causing stress as the holiday season approaches.

Linda Sanders, the founder of the Atlanta nonprofit Grandma’s Hands Outreach, said grandparents across the state are struggling to access resources for their families. Lately, the organization has struggled to provide to those in need too.

“When I started the organization, I was in a place where I could provide them gift cards but now I do not always have the resources to provide that,” said Sanders.

Grandma’s Hands Outreach provides aid including education, support groups, and resources such as food and gift cards to grandparent-led households. Sanders estimated a few hundred grandparents have benefitted from those services over the last several years.

“They don’t have grandparent support groups, so they call from all different directions looking for help,” she explained.

Sanders said the pandemic was instrumental in creating challenges for the people she helps. Many beneficiaries say the nonprofit’s services feel more important than ever following the pandemic and a struggling economy.

Sanders said recently the lack of resources is so severe that the nonprofit won’t be able to help families this Thanksgiving. Grandma’s Hands Outreach lost access to a van that provided a week’s worth of meals to families during Thanksgiving break.

Atlanta grandmother Carolyn Haith has utilized the Thanksgiving meal delivery and several other services from Grandma’s Hands Outreach for the three grandchildren she raises.

“Every year they do that and it’s a really big help,” said Haith.

A lack of resources for grandparent-led households is a nationwide issue, particularly in the South. More than half of the country’s grandparent-led homes are in the South, which reports the highest food insecurity rate. One in four grandparent-led households experienced food insecurity during the pandemic.

Despite the difficult circumstances, some services are growing. Many of the grandparents have created a strong support system for one another.

“Being a grandparent raising grandchildren is a learning process,” said Haith. “It’s a close-knit family of grandparents and with the help of Ms. Sanders we’re all helping each other out.”