When the Atlanta Community Food Bank got its start nearly 37 years ago, we began sharing food with 50 different agencies that were feeding the hungry. Today that number has grown to more than 600, and they span across 29 counties. The Food Bank network of partner agencies is made up of food pantries, community kitchens, shelters, after school programs, senior centers and other nonprofits that provide food for people who need it. We often say we could never accomplish the work of fighting hunger without each other.
In an effort to share excellent ideas and work more effectively with our partners, the Food Bank hosts an annual Partner Agency Conference. Our 4th annual conference, held last month, was themed “Growing Better Together.” We know there have been tremendous strides made through the years, providing more than 50 million meals last year alone. But there are many people who are still not receiving enough meals for a healthy life, and the Food Bank knows we want to stretch our efforts to help people shift into a place in life where they can sustain themselves and their families.
Our guest speaker was Tiffany Hollin-Wright, VP/Community and Economic Development Manager, Fifth Third Bank, lunch sponsor for the conference. Tiffany talked about tough choices people have to make. And she shared that her own family was able to get back on track because of help that they received during times of need. “Food or clothing, food or housing, food or education. To live for any amount of time with this type of INSECURITY is, well, overwhelming. I don’t know about you, but these statistics don’t paint the picture of a traditional food bank patron,” she said. “It looks and sounds more like the picture of everyday people trying daily to make the best financial decisions they can with what they earn or are given. Honestly, IT SOUNDS LIKE ME as a young pregnant suburban mother with two young babies and a working husband, or even my mother as a single mom receiving government assistance. We relied upon our local food banks to supplement our household income because we were constantly faced with the decision to choose between housing and food or utilities or medical care. We would not have been able to find our paths to self-sufficiency without the vital services such as those offered by the Atlanta Community Food Bank and each and every one of your agencies.”
We are so grateful for our first ever conference sponsors, Fifth Third Bank and Amerigroup Community Care, who not only provided financial support to make this year’s conference the most successful to date, but also brought their expertise to demonstrate how agencies can help clients achieve more financial security and improve their health.
We celebrate the work that has been done in partnership with our agencies to impact the lives of people like Tiffany. The Atlanta Community Food Bank looks forward to growing better together to not only feed more people, but change the course of their lives!