By C. Julia Nelson

Times get tough for the local food pantries when school lets out.

It’s a cyclical and predictable problem: when students are no longer eating breakfast and lunch at school, that gap in nutrition places a heavy burden on supplies at food pantries. The supply at the Community Action Center (CAC), which serves the needs of low income and homeless populations in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody, is no exception.

With that in mind, the Sandy Springs Youth Sports (SSYS) organization incorporated a food donation program into its annual Family Fun Night on May 3 at Morgan Falls Park. Families were asked to bring non-perishable items to the festival for the CAC.

Vicki Williams, the vice president of marketing and public relations for SSYS said the league strives to teach its athletes not only about exercise and good health, but also about sportsmanship and citizenship.

“We try to teach the kids that it’s important to take care of the people in our own community,” she said.

SSYS board president Joe Roche agreed. “It’s a good experience for our kids,” he said. “At SSYS kids learn the skill and love of baseball and softball, and as importantly, sportsmanship and citizenship. Here is an opportunity for kids to help in their own community.”

Liza Ulrich, an assistance coordinator at CAC, said the donation could not have come at a better time.

“This donation is going to help us move into the summer with a buffer,” Ulrich said.

More than 800 people attended the festival and brought more than 300 cans with them to donate to the center.

The CAC is located at 1130 Hightower Trail, just behind the Three Dollar Café. It is the only organization of its kind in the city of Sandy Springs and it serves more than 450 families per month out of the pantry.

Donations to the center are accepted Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. behind the building. Other arrangements may be made if those hours are not convenient for donors, Ulrich said.

More information about the CAC is available at