Coronavirus: Janelle Monae, organizations passing out 5,000 free meals in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Thousands of metro Atlanta families will get a free meal Sunday thanks to an artist who wanted to do something special for people during these tough times.

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WSB-TV′s Tyisha Fernandes talked to the organizers of the event, which is a team effort between Gate Gourmet, Project Isaiah, Wondaland Arts Society, Councilman Andre Dickens and movie star and artist Janelle Monae.

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Monae, who calls Atlanta home, said she really wanted to ease people's pressure to feed their families at a time like this. Monae has starred in several movies, including Georgia-filmed "Hidden Figures" and "Harriet."

But right now, Monae is doing something a little different for her Atlanta community.

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"It's been such a giving place and a place that i just instantly wanted to give back to," Monae said.

Monae teamed up with Gate Gourmet and Dickens to give away nearly 5,000 free meals to families struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Gate Gourmet will make all the meals Sunday morning, and workers will hand them out from noon to 3 p.m.

Organizers will follow social distancing guidelines and ask that people show up with masks and gloves on.

"You can only pull up through drive-thru and walk-up – so you won’t even have to get out of your car," Monae said. "We’ll make sure that the food gets into your trunk and you get it in the safest way possible."

Monae said that in addition to feeding families, the initiative will also save workers' jobs.

"The beautiful thing about all of this is that we get an opportunity to not only show up for our community, but we get the opportunity to save 500 workers' jobs through Project Isaiah and Gate Gourmet. They will all stay employed."

Organizers said Saturday afternoon that the Sunday event has reached capacity, but they are working to organize additional food relief efforts in the future.

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