Agencies look to Atlanta for food aid
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Representatives from the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) were in town last Thursday to meet with those who provide food locally to low-income families.
ACFB was gauging interest in a new Atlanta-Morgan delivery route for food ordered from the ACFB for local residents.
A number of local help providers could benefit from and take advantage of ACFB’s services.
“We have a problem in Madison and Morgan County with people starving, and that’s a fact,” said Jim NeSmith, who frequently helps locals through the Madison Baptist Church.
ACFB is a clearinghouse for donated foods destined for people in need all over northern Georgia and metro Atlanta. The agency distributes 21 million pounds of food each year to soup kitchens, churches, food pantries—anyone who provides food to low-income families. The agencies purchase the food from ACFB for 16 cents per pound, and the ACFB delivers it for free.
All of the local aid agencies present for the meeting with the ACFB, including the Caring Place, DFCS, the Senior Center, ACTION, Inc. and others, report an increase in recent months of the number of people and families they are serving.
In Madison, the Caring Place provides groceries to about 150 families, twice per month.
Loss of income, high utility bills, high fuel costs, and higher gas prices have contributed to the rising number of families in need of food aid.
Morgan County Family Connection Coordinator Karen Robertson said that anecdotal evidence also supports a growing number of people in the county seeking food stamps and rent and utilities assistance.
“The majority of the people now who are actually seeking food—there are more working people seeking food, and more families with children,” said Carol Richburg, ACFB Agency Services Director.
Many aid agencies are also working with a dwindling number of donation dollars.
Because Morgan County is a relatively affluent county, many residents do not realize that they have neighbors needing help.
“There are people in the community who would help, if they knew what was needed,” said Robertson. “It’s not apathy—people just don’t see the needs here.”
“There are good people out there who will help—they just need to know what’s happening,” said Dorothy Dabbs, AFCB Agency Coordinator.