September is Hunger Action Month. In collaboration with Feeding America, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia will be sharing information about food insecurity in our 14-county service area. We want to raise awareness about hunger in our communities and discuss what actions you can take to help us help our neighbors, families and children who are in need.
And make no mistake — some of your neighbors do need help getting enough food for themselves and their families. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. In short, it means that at some point this week, they may not know where their next meal is coming from. The overall food insecurity rate for our service area is 12.9%; for children, it is 20.4%.
The role of the Food Bank is collecting, purchasing, warehousing and distributing food for a network of some 240 partner agencies throughout our 14-county service area. It is the dedicated volunteers within these agencies who share the food we provide with those in need in our communities. Together, we distributed about 10 million pounds of food last year.
What actions can you take to help us accomplish our mission to feed those in our communities who are hungry? There are three opportunities:
- Volunteer: Our Food Bank is absolutely dependent upon the assistance and commitment of volunteers. Both the Athens and Clayton facilities have volunteer centers which host hundreds of volunteers throughout the year. Throughout our service area, partner agencies are serving their local communities. You can find information about them on our website — www.foodbanknega.org — and offer to volunteer at one near you.
- Donate food: We gratefully accept donations of food. Canned food, dry goods such as pasta and cereal and other shelf-stable items are always welcome. Please note that “use by” dates do not mean that the food is no longer safe to eat — most items are good for up to six months past the expiration date.
- Donate money: Because of our inventory and purchasing network, we can multiply the effect of monetary donations to the extent that with $10, we can provide 40 meals. Please consider donating generously.
Hunger Bowl is an opportunity to help us act to end hunger in our communities. This friendly community-wide competition takes place Oct. 25 to Nov. 8 with a goal of collecting 500,000 pounds of food. For more information or to register a team, go to https://foodbanknega.org/event/hunger-bowl-2019-2/. The need is real, and you can help.
By Chuck Toney, Executive Director, Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
Posted Sep 17, 2019 at 12:49 PM in the Athens Banner-Herald