Those in our community who struggle with hunger aren’t always who you think they are. That’s something we say a lot at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and we see the evidence all around us.
It got a little warm at the Food Bank last Monday night as we roasted famed restaurant and hospitality duos Justin & Derek Anthony of 10 Degrees South; Robby Kukler & Steve Simon of Fifth Group Restaurants; Nancy & Mark Oswald of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Scott Strumlauf & Michael Krohngold of Tongue & Groove in our transformed Product Rescue Center (yes, you read that right...our PRC looked like a five star restaurant).
Ellie is a senior at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw who attended the June 2014 session of the Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty held at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Over the course of the Summit, Ellie and 19 other teens learned how hunger and poverty impacts their community through educational sessions and activities; they also served the community by volunteering at a community garden, mobile food pantry, and ACFB’s Product Rescue Center. Each student made a commitment to complete a Hunger Fighting Action Step during the next school year.
Members of the Atlanta Apartment Association (AAA) know a thing or two about tackling hunger. For the past 27 years, they’ve made the cause a top priority through their annual Food-A-Thon to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Donations are delivered every October in a festive parade that wraps around a city block. This year, this amazing organization raised $1.1 million and 105,000 pounds of food--enough for 6.68 million meals!
For the past 8 years, the Atlanta Community Food Bank has been a proud beneficiary of the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program (KPCRW). 2014 marks the 32nd consecutive year for this unique workplace-based fitness program and culminating 5K through downtown Atlanta. It is the largest program of its kind and attracts more than 17,000 runners and walkers from more than 400 corporate and community teams. This high energy event creates an environment complete with camaraderie among co-workers.
When we first met Irene, she was receiving food from our partner agency, First Christian Church of Marietta. Irene, a single mom of four kids, two with special needs, struggles to make ends meet. "Being a single mom, so many things just pile up that sometimes I don't know how I manage." As we were talking, she smiled as she talked about her kids, and described how she draws strength from them. "There are times when I just tell my children we're going to have to limit ourselves and they tell me, 'Don't worry, Mommy, tomorrow will be another day.'"
Leading into Day 4 of the challenge I am falling into a good local food routine and extremely aware of my food and its origin. As I chowed down on my usual breakfast of True Blue Granola (Sweet Georgia Grains) and a Fuji apple (Mercier Orchards) at the Atlanta Public Schools’ District Wellness Meeting, I became even more inspired and reenergized about local food and overall health.
After an hour of shopping and two hours of prepping and cooking, I thought I was fully prepared to take on this challenge. For all of the food I purchased on Day 1, by Day 2 it became apparent I was definitely missing some key pieces to round out my diet. In addition to the local spices, I neglected to purchase local beverages so I have been drinking a lot of filtered tap water. I tried for some skim milk at the market but the vendor was sold out. I also did not account for enough protein, snacks and my sweet tooth.
I woke up as I usually do most Sunday mornings; debating church, excited about football and hungry. When I contemplated a solution to my hunger, a momentary panic ensued. Today was Day 1 of the Eat Local ATL challenge! Not only had I agreed to fully support the challenge in social and print media from a partner standpoint, in a moment of Friday afternoon insanity, I promised the ACFB Social Media/Website Manager I would take the challenge and blog about it this week (Ed.
The concept of eating local, farm to table, etc. is not new to Georgia. Georgia has deep roots in farming and agriculture that date back hundreds of years. As the world became more industrialized, farming became more commoditized. People lost the connection with local growers and their importance in the local food chain. In 1997, Georgia Organics (GO) was birthed, rooted in a mission to connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families. GO believes that food systems should be community-based, not commodity based.
Can’t get enough of shopping on Amazon? Now you can shop to your heart’s content and help the Food Bank at the same time! Amazon Smile allows you to automatically donate .5% of the price of your purchase to the organization of your choice. Just shop from smile.amazon.com when you’re deciding whether or not to get that Avengers DVD.
In 2010, Rhonda Smith used her bargain shopping skills to found Alive Ministries, Inc., an organization that partners with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to provide food for hungry children in Cobb County through food pantries in county schools. In addition to receiving food from ACFB, she has an ingenious method for sourcing high volumes of the food she distributes.
(Editor's Note: This is the second in a series from our communications intern, Mollie, as she spends the summer here at ACFB.)
I like to think that I have settled into life at the Atlanta Community Food Bank by now. I know most of the people that work around me, I’ve finally memorized all of my passwords, and I’m getting the hang of typing on a PC keyboard. However, there’s still so many aspects of the Food Bank I have yet to experience, as I was reminded when I volunteered at the Grocery Floor.
Jada participated in the July session of the 2013 Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty. She found herself impacted greatly by the Mobile Food Pantry (MFP) volunteer experience. Along with the other Youth Summit participants and community volunteers, Jada helped distribute food to over 300 families at Collins Memorial United Methodist Church. She noted that many of the clients did not have good quality bags to carry their food. Jada decided to use her Hunger Fighting Action Step to attack the need. Her goal was to collect 500 reusable bags to be donated to ACFB to use at a MFP.
One of the things we love most about summer at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) is the Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty. High schoolers from around our service area come together to learn more about these issues and, by the end of the week that they’ve spent with us, they go back to their communities armed with the knowledge and drive to make a difference.
Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) and Publix Super Markets have teamed to provide free school supplies to teachers and students in need across metro Atlanta.
The partnership was officially launched at a July 17 joint press conference. The new effort will support ACFB’s Kids In Need (KIN) program. KIN provides brand new, free school supplies to teachers at public schools in its 17 district service area where at least 80% of the students have access to the Federal free or reduced meal program.
(Editor's Note: This is the first in a series from our communications intern, Mollie, as she spends the summer here at ACFB.)
My name is Mollie, and I’m the summer communications intern at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Originally from Atlanta, I just finished my freshman year at Northwestern University in Illinois, where I am majoring in Journalism and double minoring in History and Gender & Sexuality Studies.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 is getting plenty of media coverage, but we’ve got a world class soccer story right here in Atlanta, Georgia.
In our nation, nearly 49 million people are facing hunger, 15.9 million of whom are children. When school is out in the summertime, many children no longer have access to meal assistance.
(Editor's Note: Stephanee has been our Public Relations intern here at the Food Bank for the past three months. Her last day was last Friday and we wish her the best of luck!)
On Monday, June 2, the Atlanta City Council will vote to decide if our city is going to be a place that supports, encourages and empowers residents to be active participants in our local food system.
We recently met Jennivee and her son, Darrell, when we were looking for people willing to tell us their story for our new Food Bank video. Jennivee and Darrell both found themselves on disability due to health issues and found help at Marietta Church of God, one of our 600 partner agencies across metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank is hosting a special screening of A Place at the Table on June 5th at 7pm at AMC Mansell Crossing in Alpharetta with a Q&A after the film.
We were pleasantly surprised last month to hear that we would be hosting a wedding party food sort in our Product Rescue Center. With a total of 65 wedding party volunteers and everyone coming in from different parts of the country, you can just imagine how that looked!
Levels of food insecurity across metro Atlanta and Georgia remain high, according to a new report from national food bank network Feeding America.
The report, from Feeding America’s recent Map the Meal Gap project, shows that nearly 20 percent of Georgians face food insecurity, which means they may not always know where they will get their next meal. The data collected for the report spotlights food insecurity rates at the national, state and county level.
What should Georgia voters be more upset about? Elected officials who enact legislation that they know is illegal or elected officials who are so disconnected from the needs of their constituents and the capacities of our public systems that they actually think the legislation is a good idea?
I am feeling very encouraged. We recently completed our most successful Hunger Walk/Run, with more than 17,000 participants and a cadre of volunteers and sponsors in attendance. The event was an affirmation of everything we believe in and work for at the Food Bank. The diversity of faith, business, public, civic and community groups reflected a rainbow of humanity with common values and commitment to make things better for our neighbors in need.
To try and tell the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s story in a short video is no easy task. The last time we did a video about the Food Bank was in 2007. The video has been shown thousands of times to donors, volunteers, partner agencies, Hunger 101 groups and more. It served us very well for many years, but as we’ve grown, and our story has changed, we knew it was time for a new video. And we’re so excited to share it with you now.
We recently teamed up with 11Alive to pull together some special programming highlighting the issue of hunger in Atlanta and Georgia in conjunction with the Outnumber Hunger concert that aired right after. The facts were presented, Brenda Wood was given a tour of the Food Bank by our executive director and founder, Bill Bolling, and we met Irene, a single mom of four kids who struggles to put food on the table.
(Editor's Note: It's National Nutrition Month and we're highlighting the things we are doing to provide more nutritious, healthy options for the communities we serve. This article originally appeared in our Spring 2014 issue of Foodsharing. To learn more about Foodsharing, please visit our Newsletters page.)
THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the 30th Anniversary of the Hunger Walk/Run yesterday! It was a gorgeous day and an even more gorgeous turnout as more than 15,000 of you took to the streets to walk or run for hunger relief. We’ll be reporting our final tallies at the end of this month. Until then, you can still donate to this incredible event and check out our photo album on Facebook.
March has been named National Nutrition Month. It is a month that promotes the awareness of good nutrition and the important role it plays in an active, healthy life. We’re especially excited about this month because we recently started a nutrition and wellness program, headed up by our first ever staff dietitian to fulfill our commitment to promoting healthy communities through nutritious food.
The Food Bank has made great strides in the last two years towards highlighting healthy options for our 600 partner agencies.
If you’re like me, you’re breathing a sigh of relief.
The winter storms that recently wreaked havoc throughout metro Atlanta and Georgia are fading from memory as spring hints at its arrival.
For those of us caught in gridlocked traffic, stuck for hours on frozen roadways, or left in the dark when power lines snapped under the weight of frozen trees, life is returning to normal now that the nuisance of cleanup and recovery is long forgotten.
It started as a simple idea 30 years ago - an answer to a question that was not yet fully formed.
The year was 1984 and we had only begun to imagine what was possible. The Food Bank itself was still in its infancy, and yet we were very confident that we were on to something important. We were still operating out of an old rented warehouse using donated trucks and mostly volunteer labor. We had found congregations and communities of people who wanted to work with and support us, but what could we do together to show our common values and commitment?
It's Valentine's Day, and we wanted to take a moment to show our love for all of you.
To our partner agencies, volunteers, food and financial donors, restaurant and hospitality partners, advocates, teachers, principals, walkers, runners, gardeners--you all make our days a bit brighter. Thank you for what you do for the Food Bank and those who need help.
Last fiscal year, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and our network of over 600 partner agencies were able to help hungry Georgians in metro Atlanta and northwest Georgia access over 45 million pounds of food to feed themselves and their families.
That worked out to around 175,000 pounds of food leaving our warehouse on an average workday and eventually finding its way into the cabinets, refrigerators and dinner tables of our neighbors.
Hunger Walk/Run is celebrating 30 years of bringing our community together to fight hunger. In that time we’ve collectively raised enough money to provide nearly 28 million meals to neighbors in need.
That’s truly inspiring -- which is why we want to do something extra special to say THANK YOU to our amazing supporters and inspire you to help make our 30th year the most impactful yet!
After three years of fighting to ensure that the Farm Bill protects hunger-relief programs and advances our mission of a hunger-free America-- we have a resolution. Thank you constituents and champions, your voice made a difference. Today, Congress finalized a new Farm Bill, after the Senate’s 68-32 vote to pass H.R.
We are excited to announce the return of the Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty. This year, we will have two 5-day sessions for rising 9th – 12th graders. The first session will run from June 9 – 13th and the second session from July 7 – 11th.
Students who participate in the Youth Summit will gain valuable knowledge about hunger and poverty, volunteer in the community, and make new friends with a diverse group of students. Students are also required to commit to a Hunger Fighting Action Step to be completed the next school year.
Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia got a lot of attention a couple of weeks ago promoting a proposed bill that would require Georgians receiving SNAP/food stamps to pass a drug test before receiving help to feed their family.
The Super Bowl is just around the corner and the NFL is giving back before the big game on February 1, 2014 in Brooklyn, NY. For over 22 years, the NFL has been working to kick hunger by raising over $14 million. However, the need to do more is unyielding. The NFL has recruited the country's top chefs and the NFL's greatest to raise money in support of Feeding America-affiliated food banks throughout the United States in each of the NFL cities.The main event meshes the culinary and athletic worlds together with The Party with a Purpose®.
Tri-Cities High School Visual Art Magnet Program presents “The Faces of Hunger” Opening Reception on February 6th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Held in the Tri-Cities High School Art Gallery, the exhibit features the students’ interpretation of hunger in their community as 2D and 3D art, jewelry and ceramic pieces. Refreshments will be served as will light appetizers provided by Sufi’s Atlanta.
For three years, we’ve fought to ensure that the Farm Bill protects hunger-relief programs and advances our mission of a hunger-free America.
Your voice made a difference. Your support helped us defeat proposal after proposal to deepen the cuts to hunger relief programs like SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as Food Stamps).
As we eagerly await the start of a new baseball season, the Atlanta Braves have been working their way through the Southeast giving back and meeting fans along the way with the Braves Caravan. Today, they made their stop at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, volunteering with staff in the Product Rescue Center (PRC) and on the grocery floor.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is a refundable tax credit signed in to legislation in 1975 to help alleviate some of the burden of social security taxes and provide incentives to work for low to moderate income individuals. EITC has shown to be the most successful federal program in lifting working families above the poverty line. A common myth is that those who do not work are collecting EITC.
Demand for emergency food aid is at an all-time high, except, we can’t really call it “emergency” aid anymore – not when so many families fight to feed their children on a daily basis and stories of children loading their pockets with crackers at school, so they can try and help feed their siblings at home, have become more common. In Georgia, 1 in 5 people struggle to combat food insecurity.
For most, the start of the new year usually means change and resolutions. For us at the Food Bank, it means the kickoff of one of our favorite events: the Hunger Walk/Run. With the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, St. Vincent de Paul, Episcopal Charities of Atlanta, Lutheran Services of Georgia and the Greater Presbytery of Atlanta, it’s a fun filled day that brings together thousands of Georgians from all different backgrounds to walk or run for hunger, an issue that affects 20% of this state’s residents.
If you’ve resolved to become a master at cooking, or even just to start cooking, we have something so amazing, it’s almost too good to be true: an ongoing series of cooking classes taught by Atlanta’s finest chefs, all in The Cook’s Warehouse state-of-the-art kitchens. Even better, 100% of the proceeds benefit the hunger relief work of ACFB.
Transportation, or rather public support for a viable comprehensive transportation solution indicative of a growing major metropolitan city, has long been a hot button issue in Atlanta. According to a 2011 Brookings Institute Transit Accessibility Profile, Atlanta ranks 91st out of 100 metro areas for access to transit. To oversimplify, Atlantans rely heavily on cars as their primary source of transportation in lieu of robust mass transit options.
Holiday shoppers are always on the lookout for the best deals this time of year. Why shouldn’t those who want to impact hunger be too?
Well, look no further. Our generous partners at Medlytix are making an offer that’s too good to pass up.
Over the next few days, Congress will decide the fate of hunger-relief programs in the Farm Bill, and we need to mobilize thousands of phone calls to make sure they protect hungry families by protecting SNAP/Food Stamps and investing in SNAP.
We need you to add your voice to the thousands who will join this important effort. Now, more than ever, it is important to make a phone call to your Members of Congress and help ensure that struggling Americans still have access to programs that help put food on the table.
As this year’s Chair of Canstruction®, I’m pleased to share that we celebrated 15 years of the event being held in Atlanta and benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Having worked on the steering committee for the past five years and having Chaired the event twice now, I can honestly say working with Canstruction® has been one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in my life. I truly appreciate the art of the competition and am forever endeared to this event because of the impact it has on so many local communities.
One of our favorite days of the year is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving--it’s the day of the annual Thanksgiving Dish! Anchors and reporters from 11Alive, CBS Atlanta, Fox 5 and WSB-TV, as well as former Braves pitcher John Smoltz, come together for a morning to help prepare over 2,000 meals for people in need. Today we celebrate our 15th year, and it has become a beloved tradition for us, and for our returning participants.
This week, we had some players and cheerleaders from the Atlanta Falcons come and volunteer in the Product Rescue Center. Players Dominique Franks, Bradie Ewing, Jordan Mabin, Corey Peters and Jonathan Massaquoi and cheerleaders Micki and Hope sorted, packed and weighed product in an afternoon with other volunteers from YP and the community. Not only did the group sort and pack 11,585 pounds (or 9,654 meals), we like to think they had fun too.
On day 2 of this Food Stamp Challenge, it had become apparent to me that when my food choices are limited all you can do is think about food. There was certainly a time when out of necessity, much of the days energy was centered on where the next meal would come from, but most of us now live outside of scarcity in the luxury of choice.
I recently attended a reception and was introduced to a civic leader in the community. When she learned that I was the executive director of the Food Bank, she looked me in the eye and said she doesn’t like to support people who use food stamps because they buy things she views as unhealthy. When asked for examples, she mentioned soft drinks, snack food, beer and cigarettes.
On November 1, 2013, every single person who relies on food stamps (SNAP) to help them feed their families will see a cut in the amount they receive. It has nothing to do with the federal shutdown, nor with the House of Representative’s bill that attempts to cut $40 billion from the program over the next 10 years. This is simply the expiration of a modest 2009 boost in benefits to SNAP recipients, which was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to strengthen the economy and ease hardship.
One of our favorite kick-offs for fall is the Atlanta Apartment Association’s (AAA) Food-A-Thon. It’s the culmination of months of hard work, fun and fundraising organized by more than 40 different apartment companies and management groups throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia - all in the name of helping to feed our community.
It was the best of times and the worst of times…
...as the legendary Tale of Two Cities classic begins. With us at ACFB, a similar framing concept might be “the good news and the bad news” as we – kind of – breathe a sigh of relief that our dysfunctional federal leaders re-funded our federal government, lifted the debt ceiling, and punted yet again for a few months to work on resolving our nation’s polarized impasse on governing.
We're two days into the shutdown and one thing for certain has changed: all the usual websites we at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) typically access from the feds are shut down. But we did do a little research ourselves before the shutdown about how this might impact the Food Bank so I'll share a few highlights.
Yesterday, the US House of Representatives voted to cut the Food Stamp Program (SNAP) by $39 billion, which will result in more than 1.5 billion meals lost in fiscal year 2014 alone. (You can find out how your Representative voted here.) The Atlanta Community Food Bank is deeply disappointed by this vote. We know from direct experience that private charity cannot make up for this substantial cut to federal food assistance.
The House of Representatives will be debating a proposed $40 billion cut to the nation’s food stamp program (now known as SNAP) this week. For a short, bipartisan update on the issue, this piece by former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is a good place to start.
Think food stamps aren’t going to people who really need them? After losing her job “making really decent money” in 2010, Jessica took two jobs to make ends meet. She was still able to manage her expenses, but then was struck by the unexpected. Food stamps provided the safety net she needed. Hear the rest of the story in Jessica’s words:
As of Friday, August 30, the data collection period for the Hunger in America 2014 study was complete! ACFB Staff and Volunteers visited 102 partner agencies and conducted over 625 client surveys.
I volunteered at the ACFB once before and really enjoyed the experience. So, I was excited to volunteer there again, except this time with my firm, Porter Keadle Moore! I didn’t expect us to get a tour of the facility as part of our community service outing…That was a very pleasant bonus! The tour guide told us a lot about the history of the food bank and their role in the Atlanta community. I learned that they are more far-reaching than I would have ever suspected, serving many areas outside of metro Atlanta and even in other states.
Think food stamps aren’t going to people who really need them? Marvin moved to Atlanta for a better life after his wife passed away. But as much as he thrives on work, it’s been hard to find a steady job. To make matters worse, he was hit by a car and is still healing from his injury. Food stamps continue to be a life-saver during this difficult time in his life. Hear the rest of the story in Marvin’s words:
August is halfway over which means we’re almost to Hunger Action Month!
Recently, the Food Bank’s Volunteer department got a brand new assistant. This assistant tracks available volunteer opportunities, allows you to sign up for them and maintains volunteer profiles. Sounds like a superhero, right? Surprise: it’s a new volunteer management system!
Our monthly Supper Club has taken us to some delicious places this year. Tomorrow night is no exception!
Dine out at Bantam + Biddy OR Chick-A-Biddy (or both--we won’t judge) August 13 and 20% of your tab will be donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The brainchildren of Chef Shaun Doty, both restaurants are busy making a mark on the Atlanta restaurant scene with their unique approaches to one of our favorite proteins, chicken.
Being a kid, you probably dreaded going back to school, but loved getting school supplies. They were always a sign of a fresh year; a fresh start. But it’s possible that if your parents have a hard time getting the budget to stretch for food, they have a hard time getting school supplies too. Not only that, teachers often find themselves purchasing supplies out of their pocket to help keep the classroom stocked. Our Kids In Need school supply distribution program helps to change that.
The calls began early in the week and just kept coming. While it’s not unusual for me to receive an occasional call from a person who needs help, it was unusual to get so many calls in a row. And why were they calling me?
We have a designated phone number and a whole cadre of staff members who take similar calls every day. They help callers find a food pantry near where they live or refer them to a place that has the services they need.
Last week, we held the second of two Youth Summit programs of the summer. A group of 17 students, each from different counties in Georgia, gathered to learn and witness the reality of hunger, and to come up with ideas to help fight it. As they got to know one another, a bond was formed and they really came together to serve the community.
Since 2008, The McCart Group has participated in the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program (KPCRW). Interest in the program grows each year along with our total number of participants. With more than 100 employees, the McCart Group has a very diverse team, and we motivate and encourage each other in many different ways, including inspiration to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Another way is community involvement and giving of our time and resources to those in need. Often, we find opportunities where getting healthy and giving back go hand in hand.
As you have all likely heard, last week, the House of Representatives decided to proceed with the Farm Bill by splitting it into two separate pieces of legislation—a farm only bill, which would cover agriculture programs, and a nutrition bill. It remains to be seen what will happen with the nutrition bill, which would fund critical anti-hunger programs like food stamps/SNAP and TEFAP.
The second annual Legal Food Frenzy raised $141,015 and 19,299 pounds of food for the Atlanta Community Food Bank--enough for 580,142 meals for struggling families, seniors and children across metro Atlanta and north Georgia. The results of the statewide competition were recently honored at the Capitol and 6 of the 10 award winners hail from our service area!
Congratulations to all the winners and a special thank you to those of you in our service area!
Today, the House failed to pass the Farm Bill by a vote of 195-234. We can consider this vote a significant victory for Americans struggling with hunger. Over the past several days, anti-hunger advocates across the country made 2,700 calls to Congress in opposition to the cuts to SNAP/food stamps. Thank you so much again to everyone who was able to make those calls - they made all the difference.
Effective July 1, 2013, the Atlanta Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will become one of the supports offered by United Way of Greater Atlanta as part of the organization’s income division, one of four focus areas.
Many people think about summer as a great time for vacations, fun with friends and family, but they don’t think about what it means for many of Georgia’s children who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year. When school lets out these children and their families have to think about how they are going to replace those meals; many times those meals are not replaced and these children go hungry during the summer.
“When just five people call, we know we need to pay more attention.”
Last week, we hosted 18 high school students from across the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s service area for the summer’s first Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty. Through interactive and hands-on experiences, the annual four-day summit educates teens about hunger and poverty issues in Georgia and our nation.
Hunger is not just present in Georgia, it is now prevalent. New county by county data released Monday by Feeding America reveals that almost 2 million Georgians are food insecure – meaning that at some point in the year they do not have access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy, productive lifestyle. That’s 20% of our neighbors, coworkers, congregants, family and friends who regularly face the uncertainty of knowing where their next meal will come from.
Real need seems a pretty remote and far off concept until the moment you’re confronted by it. Suddenly your own personal needs and desires take a back seat. Sometimes – maybe even most of the time – it’s easy to ignore that real need exists. After all, we can always look the other way and try to distance ourselves from anything that makes us feel uncomfortable. Since mid-April, I have had the opportunity as a staff member of ACFB to assist in conducting Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 Study.
I admit that my initial motivation for seeing the documentary A Place at the Table stemmed from competition and curiosity rather than compassion. My third novel, published June 4, is also called A Place at the Table, though it’s a story about metaphorical rather than literal hunger. Still, I worried that this same-named documentary would overshadow my book. But within five minutes of watching the film, I saw that the human stories illuminated in it are far more important than my pre-publication fretting.
Ever since she was 8 years old, Imani has volunteered in the Food Bank’s Product Rescue Center. She’s an inspiring example to me of how one person’s consistent giving can have a tremendous impact in the lives of others.
Imani has grown up with us. Along the way, she's gone on to help in her high school's food drive and introduce new friends to our work. And we've grown too. Imani now sees more volunteers joining her, new types of food needing to be sorted, and more boxes being packed for distribution to families in need.
We are writing with an update on one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting low-income families and food insecure households in Georgia – the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill guides funding for federal farm and food policies, and this includes the Food Stamp/SNAP program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), two vital pieces of legislation for food banks and those we serve. The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years, and is now making its way through the House and Senate.
Every month, I'm proud to get behind the wheel of our Mobile Food Pantry and provide food for our community. It gives me a unique perspective on the challenges people face in putting food on their table.
The good folks over at Twain’s Billiards and Tap in Decatur continue to impress me year after year. They get it and they live it by taking action; by doing something. It’s that time of year again and SpringFest is here this Saturday, May 18th. This event, when it started, was considered to be a one-time thing. But now, for the fifth year running, Twain’s will host this “musical extravaganza of historic proportions” to benefit the ACFB. Check out some of your favorite local bands like Gringo Star, Shathouse Rats and Rolling Nowhere, as they rock the two stages.
Running and the Atlanta Community Food Bank have a lot in common when you think about it.
Running brings a sense of community; of camaraderie. It has a magical hold on those who are fanatics (some of which are in our own offices). It brings a sense of calm and, in a very physical and mental sense, it means a healthy body. Runners help and encourage each other and even step up in a time of need.
I recently had the opportunity to listen to a U.S. Congressperson speak about the condition of the economy, the obvious gridlock in Congress, and the need for political parties of both persuasions to find common ground. There were a lot of nodding heads in the audience. He spoke of four challenges that affect our economy: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Welfare.
On Saturday, May 11, you can do your part to help Stamp Out Hunger in your community by supporting the annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive. Atlanta-area letter carriers will join those in more than 10,000 communities across the country in the largest single one-day Food Drive in the nation.
How about those Bravos, huh? They’ve been having a great season so far on the field--but we like to think it’s because they know the amazing work they’re doing off the field too. This season, in partnership with the Atlanta Braves and Kroger, we’re going to “Strike Out Hunger” across metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
Last week marked the first in a series of visits to our partner agencies for Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 Study. ACFB staff visited four food pantries to survey clients.
The Hunger in America Study is the only comprehensive nationwide study that provides in depth information on the characteristics, circumstances, and coping strategies of those living with hunger. The study is done once every four years, and publishes detailed reports for the nation and each state, including Georgia.
National Volunteer Week may have come and gone, but we’re still buzzing with excitement.
Here at the Food Bank, we simply couldn’t do what we do without volunteers. Last fiscal year, it would have taken 52 full-time staff members to complete the work our volunteers accomplished. So, when given the opportunity to celebrate them, we go all out!
Did you know that individuals cannot purchase diapers on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly food stamps) or with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program? It’s true. Now, imagine, already being on SNAP and stretching your income as far as it can go, that extra expense of diapers for your child. Diapers are not cheap. You go through quite a few in a day. It adds up in a big way.
In the IRS system, until you file a return, you exist as an individual identifiable by a unique Social Security Number (SSN) with various wage and financial documents filed with the IRS assigned to your name and SSN. Filing a return is your opportunity to provide the IRS with info to complete your life story of the tax year in question to accurately calculate your taxable income and liability.
For many people, April can be the most stressful time of the year! We are fast approaching the ever dreaded Tax Day 2013. But have no fear, we are here with the first in our blog series-12 Days of Tax Tips to get you prepared for a stress free April 15.
This morning, we hosted a group of lawyers and law firms to help garner support for the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy, a statewide food and fund drive to benefit the seven food banks of the Georgia Food Bank Association. Attorney General Sam Olens stopped by to help rally the troops to make this year’s Legal Food Frenzy bigger and better than ever.
We have great news to share with you! Because of everyone's amazing efforts, 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, was passed in the Senate at 10:28 PM on the evening of March 28th. Thank you so much for everything you did to make this happen. Last year, this same bill did not pass, and we know that having so many additional folks advocating this year is what made the difference.
You are what you eat. How many times have we heard this over the course of our lives? As cliché as that phrase has become, it is still absolutely true. Food is the fuel that makes our bodies go. The more premium fuel you put in your body, the better it will run and the better it will take care of you. Unfortunately, just like real automobile fuel, purchasing premium nutritious food has become increasingly costly.
Recently, we’ve reconfigured a few things at the Food Bank. Our Kids In Need free store for teachers moved to a bigger and better space in January; and earlier this week, the grocery floor for our 600 partner agencies got a facelift!
Yesterday was the Hunger Walk/Run and it couldn’t have been a more perfect day. With the temperature hitting 70º and the sun shining, approximately 15,000 Georgians came out to walk or run against hunger.
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 night, several Food Bank staffers attended a screening of ‘A Place at the Table’, a new documentary from the filmmakers of ‘Food Inc.’, about hunger in America.
I have a headache.
My nose is stuffy and my mouth is dry. I'm trying not to bend over much--hurts my head.
The basic problem is not a problem, it's a pollen. My honeybees are flying home covered with the yellow and orange stuff. Gobs and gobs of it to feed the babies. And the babies are hungry, they are trying to grow fast to be in time for spring. Honeybees have a 'do or die' attitude toward spring, and so do I. Last week, I was trying to plow mud to get some land ready to plant.
The countdown is on--we’re less than a month away from the 29th annual Hunger Walk/Run!
We have an advocacy opportunity and need you to make calls today. Representative Ron Stephens has introduced HB 193!
Why is HB 193 important? It's very important because it directly affects sales tax exemptions for all Georgia food banks. We had these exemptions in place for many years, but they expired in 2010-11. We need to get them back in place!
We just completed the busiest holiday season in our 33 year history: over 800 food drives, thousands of volunteers, and numerous special events, engaging more and more people in the work of hunger relief. In November and December alone, the Food Bank distributed record breaking amounts of food and grocery products to our partner agencies – eight million pounds. This was not a surprise as our distribution has grown by 85% over the past four years. Our staff, volunteers and supporters have responded to our communities’ needs with creativity, professionalism and tremendous effort.
In our line of work, numbers can be informative and overwhelming at the same time. Personally, the infographics above fall into both categories for me. In each case, they communicate a problem that is too big to ignore. But what do you do if you don’t ignore it? What can I do about an issue as large as childhood hunger in the state of Georgia? Good news: there are things that actually do work, and there are things that you actually can do.
Yesterday was the 14th Annual Great Thanksgiving Dish, a special holiday tradition that brings together media from local TV stations to prepare Thanksgiving meals. This year, Dish provided 2,700 Thanksgiving meals for organizations that are partner agencies of Atlanta’s Table, a project of the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Thanksgiving Dish is a time for us to prepare special holiday meals for those in need with the support of the Renaissance Waverly Hotel and other Renaissance and Marriott hotels.
Who knew that donating food could be so much fun?
This past Friday, Woodward Academy students showed off their spirit of donating in a big way. The upper school students started early in the morning to create “Oz.” As the yellow brick road led to the can structures of beans, peas and carrots that made up the Emerald City, the music was going, preparing for the pep rally that would culminate in all the food they had collected being donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank as well as other local pantries.
This past summer, we had a group of volunteers in our Product Rescue Center doing exactly what they were trained to do: keep the usable food and toss anything that is beyond a certain expiration date. Certainly a bag of black-eyed peas dated 1970 would qualify for the “toss” category, right? Turns out those peas got a second chance.
Last week, something happened that made us realize how important it is to talk about trust. WSB TV ran an undercover story about a “food bank” in Henry County mishandling donations. Of course, it wasn't the Atlanta Community Food Bank, nor was it one of our partner agencies. But we received a lot of questions from supporters and friends during the week prior to the story airing on Thursday.