Food4Lives is a service family founded by students from Georgia Tech and Emory in 2017 to feed, educate, and empower the homeless of Atlanta. Desire Tree Foundation Inc. is an official 501(c)3 non-profit registered with the IRS – Social Charity Work organization. We serve the homeless in 3 simple ways: Annadanam (feeding the homeless for free), Vastradanam (providing the homeless basic physical needs and shelter) and Vidyadanam (educating the homeless for free)
Picture a crisp January day in 2017. Twelve students from Georgia Tech and Emory were passing by Hurt Park in Downtown Atlanta. What they saw deeply moved them. In a city where over 3,200 individuals face homelessness every night, a line of homeless people queued up for meager food handouts from a charity table. It was transactional, impersonal—a stark contrast to what charity should represent.
We realized that with economic disparity, there has been an exponential growth of homelessness—but there has also been an increase in frustration and stress levels of people in society
Approaching the homeless, we discovered a painful truth. These individuals wore tattered clothes, suffered from the effects of substance abuse, and endured the harsh elements. When we asked them about charity, one response struck a chord: “Hey, I just want someone to talk to!” In that moment, we realized charity needed a heartfelt transformation.
Driven by love, we embarked on a mission to change lives
Driven by love, we embarked on a mission to change lives. We recognized that homelessness was on the rise, and societal stress levels were soaring. We also discovered that giving our hearts and minds to those in need brought the greatest satisfaction.
In giving our hearts & minds in service to those who seemingly have nothing, we get the most satisfaction
That day, we decided to create a non-profit, Desire Tree Foundation Inc., with a mission to serve Greater Atlanta’s destitute. Supported by generous donors and benefactors, we became an official 501(c)3 non-profit, operating as Food4Lives. Just as trees selflessly serve we decided to serve selflessly.
We value building a sense of community among volunteers and homeless individuals alike. Beyond just serving meals or providing resources, we aim to create a supportive environment where people can connect, share, and grow together. Additionally, we prioritize sustainability in your operations, both in terms of environmental practices and long-term impact on the homeless community.
We are driven by a deep sense of compassion and empathy for the homeless population in Atlanta. Seeking to understand their needs and challenges, listening to their stories without judgment, and provide support that goes beyond the surface.
We focus on holistic support for the homeless. This means we not only provide basic necessities like food and shelter but also emphasize education and reintegration into society. Our approach recognizes the interconnectedness of various aspects of an individual’s life.
But our service goes beyond the surface: Our meals are not just delicious; they’re prepared in a certified kitchen and served in reusable utensils, ensuring hygiene and environmental sustainability. We connect with each homeless person, listening without judgment, offering advice, and fostering a sense of community. We’re not content with mere survival; we strive to reintegrate the homeless into society. We partner with donors to create job opportunities and provide training to break free from bad habits.
Together, we’re creating change, one act of love at a time
Our volunteers form a close-knit family, bonding over activities like yoga, nature trips, and shared meals. Today, our volunteer family boasts 300 strong members, and our impact continues to grow. Thanks to your support, we’ve touched the lives of over 5,000 homeless individuals in downtown Atlanta. Your time, effort, and resources have made a world of difference for both the homeless and our volunteer family. Together, we’re creating change, one act of love at a time.