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Yesterday was a great (and busy!) day for food banks in Georgia. Members from our fellow food banks across Georgia, the Georgia Food Bank Association, representatives from two of our partner agencies, Midtown Assistance Center and Georgia Avenue Food Cooperative and our champion advocates swarmed the Capitol building for Georgia Food Bank Day, and in support of HB 193, a bill that would create exemptions from state and local sales or use tax for sales of food to food banks and donations of prepared food for hunger or disaster relief. Last year alone, the exemption would have allowed food banks to distribute enough food for 800,000 additional meals to hungry Georgians! We had to chance to thank Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black for his support and learn a bit more about the Georgia Grown program. At the start of the sessions, food banks were recognized by Rep. Ron Stephens in the House chamber and our executive director, Bill Bolling, gave the devotional to the Senate.
The Georgia Food Bank Association and Attorney General Sam Olens also kicked off the start of the Legal Food Frenzy--a statewide food drive with law firms and lawyers. Last year was an incredible start to the program. Participating law firms in our service area raised $107,509.43 and collected 20,738 pounds of food! We can’t wait to see what they do this year.
The big news of the day revolved around HB 193 though. While we were at the Capitol, we and our champion advocates worked the ropes to chat with our representatives and senators about HB 193. The bill was up for vote in the House yesterday and passed unanimously--177 to 0--a resounding vote of confidence in the need for the kind of work that food banks do. Thank you to everyone who called and emailed their representatives about HB 193! Now on to the Senate and, due to your support, we are in a great position already with its committee members.
We want to thank everyone who emailed or called their elected officials over the last two weeks, all those who came out to the Capitol with us yesterday and all the representatives and senators who support Georgia food banks. Interested in becoming a champion advocate? You can learn more today. Yesterday is proof that advocates can make a difference!