FAMILY FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMS
The core program of food banking is working with non-profit partner agencies and churches that provide food assistance and extend our reach throughout our 18 county area of service; these agencies include soup kitchens, food pantries, senior and youth centers, churches and other non-profit agencies. Examples are: Boys and Girls Club, Easter Seals, Open Door Community House, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, YMCA and many others. Currently we serve more than 275 partner agencies that receive food from the food bank and then distribute it to people in need within their communities. The most important part of the partnership is food accessibility to the many food insecure* families throughout our service area. Our partner agencies are a vital outreach to our Mission.
Food insecurity is defined as not having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Our major programs include: Partner Agency Food Distribution, Mobile Pantry, Senior Meals and Kids Café.
Partner Agency Food Distribution is our original mission. We collect “unsold” nutritional foods and produce from national grocery retailers and farmers and deliver them to our warehouse, where we sort and inspect all food products. Our partner agencies, who are non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status and churches, shop in our warehouse, and through their outreach, provide the delivery channel to distribute food to their clients in the communities they serve. Our partner agencies realize a significant savings by purchasing their food through us.
Our partner agencies consist of churches and non-profit organizations that provide food assistance.
Mobile Pantry program allows us to provide direct distribution to more than 8,000 food insecure families in locations where there is limited access to emergency pantries. Volunteers prepare and pack boxes of food according to our guidelines. The foods included in these boxes are meant to be a supplement for the recipient and usually include items that can be used to make several meals. In addition to these, frozen foods, meats and fresh produce, dairy and bread may also be distributed. These food boxes are then delivered to rural residents on a designated schedule. Food is distributed by mobile pantry to approximately 41 sites each month.
Senior Meals program serves the elderly population through the Meals on Wheels program sponsored by many churches and non-profit organizations. Approximately 100 hot, nutritious meals are prepared in our kitchen daily and delivered to these organizations to distribute to people who have registered for this program.
Children’s Food Distribution, Kids Café is a vital outreach to children experiencing food insecurity. Lack of proper nutrition can impact physical and mental health and cause learning and development problems in children. In the United States today, nearly 16 million children face hunger. In Georgia, one in five children are food insecure and face obstacles to reaching their fullest potential.
According to USA Today, 2014, Georgia ranks 4th highest in the nation in child food insecurity.
The future of America lies in our children. When hunger threatens the future of a child, it threatens society as well. Our food distribution programs for children are vital to our community:
School Food Pantries are becoming more common in schools. These are food closets that are set up inside the school for children to pick up a quick healthy snack or take home food items for their family. In the 2018-19 school year, we began a partnership with Communities in Schools in Georgia and established 2 food pantries in Muscogee County, 3 in Troup County, 1 in Randolph County and 1 in Clay County. This program continues to grow and we anticipate that there will be more school food pantries established for the 2019-20 school year.
Kids Café offers afternoon nutritious hot meals and snacks at various sites designated by the Housing Authority, churches and community centers, every week day throughout the school year. We prepare more than 8,500 healthy, nutritious meals weekly in our commercial kitchen at our central warehouse and transport these meals to 28 locations in Muscogee County, GA and Russell County, AL.
Kids Summer Café is an expanded Kids Café program and provides nutritious lunches for children in need to additional Kids Café locations. We average providing 1,700 meals per day at 43 sites for ten weeks during the summer months, equaling 120,00 meals. At both our Kids Café during the school year and our Summer Café Programs, the library system provides an outreach program called “Rock Star Readers” at several of our Café locations. This program is facilitated by a library employee and encourages reading, storytelling and arts and crafts after the school day for the children attending the Kids Café programs.
In the last year, we prepared and delivered a total of 376,000 meals* in our Kids Cafe Program.
(*Total of Kids Cafe and Kids Summer Cafe meals.)
Buddy Pack program serves children who live in food insecure homes and are likely to experience hunger and bridges the gap between the school week and the weekend, when free breakfasts and lunches are not available. Students are identified by the school to participate in this program, and the program is handled with discretion to protect the privacy of the student. Approximately 1,400 back packs are filled with nutritious child-friendly, ready-to-eat foods each week. Churches and organizations sponsor this program as a community outreach.
Snack Program offers healthy afternoon snacks for children attending after school programs at churches, youth centers, day care programs and various special youth programs in the community.