The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia plans a $100,000 fall fundraising campaign.
Executive director Chuck Toney said this year’s theme is “Help Us Help Them. The Need Remains. Toney said the goal is to help provide funding for food through the beginning of 2021.
“The communities in our 14-county service area responded generously when the pandemic began in March,” Toney said. “We are grateful for that support, which has sustained us over the past six months of so. But this is not over. We anticipate the level of demand staying at the current 40% increase well into 2021.”
In addition to the 40% increase in demand for food through its network of some 230 agency partners, the Food Bank has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking food assistance this year. From January-June 2019, the Food Bank and its agencies served 79,000 people. In the same time period in 2020, the Food Bank served 160,000 people.
Feeding America, the national organization of food banks, has projected that 98,000 people in the service area will experience food insecurity, up from 69,000 in 2018, the latest figures available.
“There is no more fundamentally human act than feeding someone who is hungry,” said Toney. “And that need has never been greater in my lifetime. I am hopeful that those who responded generously in the spring will respond again and that others will join them so that we may feed our neighbors in need.”
To assist those who want to host food drives, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia has created a virtual food drive on its website at www.foodbanknega.org. This online service allows donors to select animated food items from online grocery shelves, scan them and place them in a bag. The purchase is converted into a monetary donation to the Food Bank, as well as a meal calculation. The virtual food drive will be used for The Hunger Bowl this year. This community-wide friendly food collection competition usually consists of both food donations and monetary contributions, but as a result of the pandemic, the Food Bank is shifting it online.