Posted: Monday, November 18th 2013 at 12:58pm
Georgia Mt. Food Bank reaches out to local schools
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – Two 18-wheeled semis arrived at the Georgia Mountain Food Bank loading dock Monday morning bringing supplies from the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Part of the shipment included several pallets of school supplies destined for a dozen Hall County and Gainesville City schools that have meet minimum "school in need" standards.
GMFB Executive Director Kay Blackstock explained that the school supplies were part of the ACFB’s Kids-In-Need school supply program.
Schools that have at least 80-percent of their students enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program qualify for the free school supplies from Kids-In-Need; twelve schools in the Gainesville and Hall County systems have met that requirement.
But the program is symbiotic according to Blackstock. The students receive the supplies but they reciprocate by hosting food drives at the school to help replenish supplies used at the GMFB in their five distribution programs.
"All the schools have a chance to give back," Blackstock said. "That’s what makes this whole thing so cool is the way we that may receive but we find a way to give back at the same time."
The GMFB works in partnership with the ACFB. Blackstock said that she liked the way the ACFB operated. "We didn’t want to have to recreate the wheel."
So in November 2007 GMFB incorporated, linking to the ACFB. "We felt like there was enough service for us to do to complement the good work that was already being done by the Atlanta Community Food Bank by being their foot soldiers on the ground here in this part of northeast Georgia."
GMFB moved into their 20,000-plus square foot facility on Calvary Church Road in August, 2012, after spending three years sharing a structure with Hollis Transport in Flowery Branch.
"In the five years that we have been taking distributions…we’ve now distributed just over seven and a half million pounds of food in five counties… and before the end of this year we’ll have 58 feeding partners in five counties," Blackstock added.
Following a tour of their warehouse (complete with massive refrigeration and freezer rooms), Blackstock pointed to some of the near-empty food racks. "Donations are down almost to the scary point. We are scrambling to cover the need. So the food drives that are going on, the donations that are coming in, are especially important right now."
Blackstock said that all forms of help are welcome as government cut backs and the complications caused by the federal Sequestration have depleted their food reserves.
She said those interested in donating food items or simply writing a donation check should call their main office at (770) 534-4111. "We can sure plug them in and we sure need the help right now."
Link: GMFB website
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