We love our agencies. All 730 of them.

It's Agency Appreciation Week here at ACFB. The following is a reprint from the Fall 2011 Foodsharing, our quarterly print newsletter. To learn more about Foodsharing, please visit our website.

It’s been a tradition for many years that with each issue of Foodsharing, the Food Bank features one of our partner agencies as the Agency of the Quarter, spotlighting the incredible work this agency has done to alleviate hunger and fulfill other critical needs in their community.

With Hunger Action Month coming in September, we thought “What better time to celebrate not just ONE, but ALL of our partner agencies? What better time to celebrate the impact we’re able to make in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people because of the work we do together?”

There are currently 730 agencies that partner with the Atlanta Community Food Bank – nonprofit organizations that receive food and grocery products from us, and in turn, provide groceries and meals to people in need . Whether they are running a food pantry from a church in Cartersville, serving meals at a shelter in Downtown Atlanta or operating an afterschool program in Decatur, they have one thing in common: They are there to answer the call of families and individuals who need help – help getting groceries on the table when all the money has run out, help finding a hot meal and a bed, help securing a safe place for kids to do homework, enjoy an afternoon snack and even an early dinner while parents still need to be on the job.

Without our partner agencies, the Food Bank would never be able to reach the thousands of people seeking food assistance each week in a service area that spans 38 counties located throughout metro Atlanta, but also extends as far south as Heard County and as far north as Dade County.

ACFB Senior Agency Customer Service Associate Marcos Pope described the relationship between the Food Bank and our partner agencies as a team with a common goal – that of eradicating the societal ill of hunger. “To function as a team and achieve victory, you have to play your position, and you have to play it well,” said Pope. “Together, we’re able to effectively tackle the problem because everyone knows the role they play.”

Of course, it never hurts to have some star players on your team, especially in times of such economic hardship. Pope has witnessed agency after agency step up to the plate to increase their food distribution, even when resources are depleted. “These agencies are truly giving everything they can. Even if they had no funds, they would find a way to serve those in need,” said Pope. “I’ve had the privilege to be at some of their distributions, and you can see their hearts at work. I’ve had the privilege of interacting with people who are concerned for the well being of ALL humankind – it makes a big difference for me,” he added. “Everybody in need doesn’t come from the same place – we all come from different walks of life.