This October, St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens and St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia are providing free, fresh food to people in need in the community.

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Farmers to Families Food Box Program will distribute up to $3 billion worth of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to families in need. USDA identified eligible counties within each state, and two St. Mary's hospitals are located in counties eligible to receive food boxes: St. Mary's Hospital in Clarke County and Sacred Heart Hospital in Franklin County.

St. Mary's is collaborating in this special community event with Metz Culinary Management, the system’s regional food service vendor, and with Sysco Atlanta. Every food box is 30-40 pounds of fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat and eggs.

Each hospital has approximately 1,250 food boxes to distribute to families in need of food on a first-come, first-served basis. No documentation, identification or paperwork is needed to receive the food box.

St. Mary's Health Care System Farmers-to-Families dates are:

•Friday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m.-noon: Sacred Heart Hospital, 367 Clear Creek Dr, Lavonia. Drive towards the left side of hospital near the Wellness Center to the distribution site. You may remain in your vehicle and the food box will be placed in your backseat or trunk.

•Saturday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-noon, St. Mary's Hospital, 139 Alps Road, Athens. Drive through the Alps or Broad Street entrances. The distribution site will be on St. Mary's campus behind Zoe's Kitchen. Remain in your vehicle and the food box will be placed in your backseat or trunk.

For more information, contact Tamara Bourda, Regional Vice President, Community Health and Well-Being, at

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