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Monday, December 26, 2005

CBS 46 Atlanta - Katrina evacuees spike turnout at Hosea Feed the Hungry

CBS 46 Atlanta - Katrina evacuees spike turnout at Hosea Feed the HungryKatrina evacuees spike turnout at Hosea Feed the Hungry
Dec 25, 2005, 10:37 PM

ATLANTA (AP) -- Refugees from Hurricane Katrina helped swell the ranks of those seeking a Christmas meal Sunday from a 35-year-old program dedicated to feeding the poor and homeless. Organizers of Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless said about 12,000 people were served a traditional holiday meal at Atlanta's Turner Field, up about 20 percent from last year, while another 7,000 meals were delivered, doubling last year's total.

Event co-director Elisabeth Omilami said Hurricane Katrina evacuees now living in and around Atlanta likely were the cause of the increases. "A lot of the addresses were hotels," said event co-director Elisabeth Omilami. "There's no way to really explain it other than that." The federal government estimates more than 106,000 Katrina evacuees fled to Georgia, most of them to the metro Atlanta area. More than 46,000 evacuees registered for federal assistance in the state.

Civil rights activist Hosea Williams began the charity in 1971, serving 100 men a week each Sunday. Omilami took the reins in 2000 after her father's death and runs the program with her husband, Afemo. The group provides meals for over 40,000 people on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day each year. Omilami said that, for the first time ever, the group had to spend about $15,000 on turkey, ham, chicken and other food for the Christmas meal. In October, she said the group was about two months behind schedule on food donations -- largely due to the number of meals the group served to evacuees in the weeks following the Aug. 29 Gulf Coast

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