“There are people right here in our community who are uncertain where their next meal will come from,” said James I. Casey, Polk County Farm Bureau president. “We were proud to participate in the 2012 Harvest For All Campaign. It is a way we can make a difference for folks struggling for access to life’s most basic needs.”
Georgia Farm Bureau’s statewide 2012 Harvest for All Campaign, coordinated by the GFB Young Farmer Committee, raised $20,000, which was presented to Georgia Food Bank Association (GFBA) Executive Director Danah Craft during the 2012 Georgia Farm Bureau Convention on Jekyll Island. The GFBA uses donated dollars to purchase high-protein, low-cost foods like chicken and peanut butter and to offset the costs of various outreach programs like mobile pantries, Manna drops and backpack programs.
The GFBA will distribute the funds to seven regional food banks around the state.
“Demand for food assistance in Georgia has grown 15 percent this year on top of the dramatic 30 percent annual increases the food banks experienced during the recession." Craft said. “The face of hunger is changing in Georgia. Working families, the unemployed or underemployed, seniors and children make up 1 in 6 Georgians who need food assistance. We are thankful for the generosity of Georgia Farm Bureau members who provided this donation and also to those who donated nutritious fruit and vegetables to our food bank network throughout the year.”
The Center on Hunger and Poverty defines food insecurity as occurring “whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food, or the ability to acquire acceptable
food in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain.” The Center defines hunger as “the uneasy or painful sensation caused by a recurrent or involuntary lack of food and is a potential, although not necessary, consequence of food insecurity.”
According to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 17.4 percent of Georgia’s households have low or very low food security, nearly twice the national average.
Past Harvest For All campaigns have solicited direct donations of food. The 2010 drive focused on cash contributions. Since 2004, GFB has coordinated eight campaigns through which GFB members from across the state have donated approximately 49,000 pounds of staple food items and more than $80,000 in cash donations distributed to food banks located throughout Georgia affiliated with Feeding America. In 2005, GFB members collected 17,000 pounds of food, which were donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina in Hancock County, Miss.
Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization and is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The organization has 158 county offices, and its volunteer members actively participate in local, state and national activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors. GFB also has 20 agricultural commodity advisory committees that give the organization input on issues pertinent to the major crops and livestock grown in Georgia.