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‘Through Squoze-Colored Glasses’ | Local resident turns uncertainty to hope during the pandemic

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‘Squoze Craft Lemonade’ owner Candice Beaty shares plans for Tri-Cities expansion and more

OLD FOURTH WARD, ATL. — “When life hands you lemons…”

Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who could not finish this famous proverb. This begs the question, what do you when the universe hands everyone on the planet a giant lemon, such as it did last year?

Just ask entrepreneur, Candice Beaty, and she’ll give you the same answer.

Having recently opened Squoze Craft Lemonade inside of the Irwin Street Market located in the Old Fourth Ward. Beaty was overjoyed to see her long-gestating dream of owning her own boutique-craft lemonade shop come to fruition. 

https://vimeo.com/525588172

Then, the Year-That-Must-Not-Be-Named landed on everyone like a ton of bricks — or y’know lemons.

Luckily for us, Beaty just so happens to know a thing-or-two about lemons. Her personal approach with Squoze Craft Lemonade is to ‘shatter’ the thought of what traditional lemonade could be. 

By combining non-traditional combinations of herbs and fruit flavors, Beaty is capable of creating a vast array of tasty beverages that the typical lemonade drink would never think would work together. 

However, Beaty, along with her friend and business mentor, Jake Rothschild, owner-operator of Jake’s Ice Creams & Sorbets had to scuttle their pre-COVID plans for an expansion to the Tri-Cities, specifically Hapeville, last summer. 

“I have a 9-to-5 job. I work in IT, but my passion has always been to somehow be connected to the community through a business,” attests Beaty.

“I think there is indeed a place in the market for ‘Squoze.’ When you mix nostalgia with something new and exciting — it’s a win-win.”

Beaty tells Vox Pop ATL that in spite of the setbacks, it feels rewarding every time a naysayer’s turns to surprise when they sample one of her unique blends. According to her, feedback of her distinct ’Squoze’ blends ranges from ‘decadent’ to ‘magical.’

Currently, you can visit Candice and ‘Get Squozed’ at her Inman Park location at 660 Irwin Street Fridays from 4 pm – 8 pm and Saturday & Sunday from 12 noon – 8 pm.

Online deliveries are also available in Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, North Atlanta & Cobb County.

For more information about Squoze Craft Lemonade, click here.  

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and like us on Facebook.

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Community

‘Something To Remember Him By’ | The community of East Point honors the tragically short life of Ty’Rell Simms

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City officials, non-profits, and local charter school help to celebrate the memory of student with ‘Buddy Bench’, balloon memorial, and new mural. 

EAST POINT, Ga. — On the evening of Friday, November 6th, 2020, 11-year-old Ty’Rell Simms was headed home from his grandmother’s house with a friend. Tragically, he never made it — but his story and his legacy do not end there.

Victim of a drive-by shooting that had absolutely nothing to do with him, Simms left behind a grieving family struggling to cope with their senseless loss and a community left without their classmate, teammate, and friend.

Known for his natural athleticism, generous spirit, warm smile, and overall good nature, Simms touched the lives of many in the Tri-Cities in his brief eleven years. 

During the unpleasant undertaking of finding ways to commemorate Simm’s life, his fellow scholars at KIPP South Fulton Academy (KSFA) envisioned ways to commemorate his life. 

The Beta Club at KIPP Academy, where Simms had just begun his fifth-grade school year under pandemic distance learning approached the faculty and staff about a Buddy Bench.

The ‘Buddy Bench project’ is a relatively new initiative where plastic bottle caps and recyclable plastic items are repurposed into a functional memorial or ‘buddy bench’ in someone’s memory. 

“Our Beta Club scholars came to us wanting to find an outlet for celebration, for grief or just having a way to feel afterward,” recalls KSFA Literacy Coach, Kathryn McClinton.

“They came up with the ‘buddy bench’ idea so we could collect caps in his honor and create a bench where people could actually come and sit, and remember him while also forming bonds with other people.”

The goal of the daunting task of gathering 400-lb of plastics through donations, both local and abroad to create Simms’ memorial bench.

The cap collection process was spearheaded by a fellow athlete and community youth leader, CJ Matthews. While Matthews did not know Simms personally, he was so moved by the news of his passing, he felt compelled to contribute somehow.

Matthews is the co-founder and CEO of Blankies 4 My Buddies, an award-winning community non-profit that has been behind such community events as The Giving Bowl, and COVID Care Package.

Through its #Tops4Tyrell initiative, Blankies 4 My Buddies has collected donations from as far away as Columbus, Ohio. 

Family-friend and local pastor, Ray Waters solemnly recounts to Vox Pop All, the morning he received the call with the heart-breaking news of Ty’rell’s passing.

“It’s five minutes before church, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to talk about, and I get a call, and it is from Conrad’s (Ty’Rell’s father), brother. Scooter told me that Ty’Rell had been shot the night before and had died,” laments the Village Church pastor to Vox Pop ATL

“My whole life as a pastor, I’ve been called and told that something tragic that had happened — but nothing like that.”

East Point Parks & Recreation also contributed to Simms’ legacy by partnering with KSFA and the newly-founded community beautification program, Art in the Paint to paint the basketball court at Brookdale Park in East Point.

Other local companies that have contributed to the causes involving Ty’Rell are including the following:

Drip-Thru Coffee

Treat Love

Kupcakerie

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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‘One To Grow On’ | Local non-profits join forces to expand food access options to the community

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Wholesome Wave Georgia and Food Well Alliance partner-up to expand SNAP benefits with ‘Georgia Plant 2 Plate’ program

EAST ATLANTA, Ga. — Although general concerns regarding the pandemic have seemed to greatly diminish, the needs of families still dealing with economic hardships and food insecurity have not.  

In an effort to increase the impact of its Georgia Plant 2 Plate food initiative, Wholesome Wave Georgia teamed up with Food Well Alliance to expand the benefits for SNAP households to include free gardening kits to Georgia families using their EBT cards at select local farmers markets. 

The Georgia Plant 2 Plate program was launched shortly after the pandemic shutdowns in April 2020 to ensure that SNAP recipients had reliable food access by offering 50% off fresh, healthy, and locally grown food.

https://vimeo.com/544003441

For 2021, the Plant 2 Plate program has expanded SNAP benefits to include 50% off local fruit and vegetable plant seedlings or ’starts’ to families paying with their EBT cards. 

Along with the purchase of fruit and vegetable starter plants, a free gardening kit including pots, soil, gloves, trowels, and plant care guides were provided to SNAP recipients.

Working in partnership with the Georgia Fresh For Less program at Wholesome Wave Georgia, Food Well Alliance hosted a Georgia Plant 2 Plate pop-up just in time for Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, 2021, at East Atlanta Village Farmers Market located at Stokeswood Avenue SE, Atlanta, GA 30316.

To date, Georgia Plant 2 Plate has hosted pop-up events at:

For more information about the 2021 Georgia Plant 2 Plate program, you can visit their website, and learn more about other programs involving the Food Well Alliance, click here.

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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‘Breathe a Sigh of Relief’ | Community outreach organization provides face-masks to area schools

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IGNITE Resource Center donates over 4,000 much-needed face-masks to Woodland Middle and College Park Elementary schools

EAST POINT, Ga. — The faculty at Woodland Middle School and College Park Elementary School were greeted with a nice surprise Tuesday, April 20th as both schools received free face masks from the staff of the IGNITE Resource Center.

The College Park-based community outreach organization has partnered with four local schools in the Tri-Cities area to provide the students and faculty with PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). 

This initiative has been taking place since the beginning of the 2021 school year according to Jamelle McKenzie, Executive Director for IGNITE College Park Resource Center.

https://vimeo.com/542381473

“We have adopted for schools in the Tri-Cities area, and one of the things we like to do is to provide these schools with the necessary PPE that they need,” Mckenzie tells Vox Pop ATL.

“So, today we actually visited College Park Elementary School and Woodland Middle School, and delivered approximately 5000 face-masks that can be used for students, their families, and the faculty.”

With the number of in-person teaching increasing this year, the need for PPE has definitely increased for the scholars and their teachers. 

IGNITE Resource Center delivered 2,500 face masks to Woodland Middle School and 1,500 to College Park Elementary School. 

Dr. Brown extols her appreciation for IGNITE Resource Center to Vox Pop ATL out front of Woodland Middle School in East Point. 

“Something as simple as masks you would not think would make such a huge impact, but it definitely has here at Woodland Middle,” shares the Woodland Middle School principal.

When asked how did she feel about the face-mask donations and continued support from IGNITE Resource Center, College Park Elementary School principal, Dr. Maisha Otway had this to add:

“Some people think that everyone has masks and that’s not true. We have them until we don’t,” affirms Dr. Otway. “So, on delivery like this is, it’s phenomenal and these are just so awesome and colorful and cute. We love that, too.”

For more information about the IGNITE College Park Resource Center, visit their website

For all the news that’s fit to click? Visit the Vox Pop ATL website and subscribe for news updates on Facebook.

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