The shelves are a little bare at the Madison County Food Bank right now.
“Donations are down and the need is rising,” food bank director Bobbie Rooker said.
The food bank has served 643 individuals during just the past three months (July, August and September) – a significant increase over 2012, when they had served 927 people in a nine-month period (Jan. 1 – Sept. 30).
And with the holidays approaching, the shortage in donations is particularly worrisome to Rooker, who’s been helping feed the county’s poor and needy for many years.
“That’s a big jump, and we still have the busiest time of the year to go – the holidays,” she said.
She said it’s taking families who qualify for Food Stamps (EBT) longer to get their applications processed, which means they look to the food bank in the meantime to help with food. She thinks that is just one of a number of factors driving up the demand for assistance.
Rooker says they try to supply each member of a family that is referred to them with enough food to furnish breakfast and at least one other nutritious meal per family member for a five-day period, but it isn’t always easy.
Rooker said besides an increase in need, she’s seen a decrease in support.
“For example, some of the churches are doing their own programs, which has hurt us,” she said.
But she’s appreciative of those of who have continued their support, along with some new sponsors.
“FFA students at the high school brought fresh produce from a summer garden they had,” she said. “Being able to offer fresh vegetables is wonderful.”
And others have brought vegetables from their gardens.
In addition to fresh vegetables, fresh processed meat (including deer meat) is accepted, along with the usual staples of canned and boxed foods. Monetary donations are also accepted.
In the meantime, the Christmas tree is going up in the food bank’s reception area, preparing for the upcoming annual toy drive. The food bank will be open Mondays beginning Oct. 21 through December to take Christmas applications. Those in need of help for toys for their children (ages 0 – 12) for Christmas can apply between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday only.
Those wishing to help with the toy drive can donate unwrapped new toys, money to purchase toys, or they can sponsor a family for Christmas. Donations for the Christmas program will be accepted through Thursday, Dec. 13.
Rooker said many of the schools are already conducting toy and food drives for the holidays.
“We are so thankful for the ones that are still donating, still helping, they are the glue that holds us together,” she said.
The food bank is open Tuesday to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 1547 Hwy. 98 West. Their phone number is 706-795-5465 and the mailing address is P.O. Box 147, Danielsville, GA 30633. If mailing a donation, please specify if your donation is to be used for the food bank or the Christmas program on your check.
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