FAMILY FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAMS
Our core program of food distribution is collaborating 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 350 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 a collaborative effort that supports our mission and is one of our essential delivery channels. We partner with hundreds of churches and non-profit organizations that provide food assistance in the 18 counties we serve. These agencies have food closets, food pantries, soup kitchens, serve meals, provide meals for their programs, support child hunger programs in schools, reach into our rural areas where emergency food is not available, and much more.
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. Volunteers hand-pack these food boxes that include canned and dry goods for distribution. 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 this program to approximately 48 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.
Our children are the future. 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 weekday 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.
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 backpacks 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, daycare programs, and various special youth programs in the community.