By: Kara Duffy
July 23, 2013
Thomasville, GA - Folks at the Second Harvest Of South Georgia are on a mission to feed hope and the hungry.
"You would be amazed," said Danny Dukes, the director of the Thomasville Branch of the Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia. "We're on track right now for this year to distribute about 16 million pounds of food."
It's a need Dukes says has increased with the slipping economy.
"We have seen a tremendous increase with the job market like it is, you know people getting laid off; you're seeing a lot more people in lines at the food banks now," he said.
People in Southwest Georgia aren't alone in the battle of hunger. The nonprofit Food Research and Action Center says last year, 1.9 million people statewide relied on food stamps. Food stamp use had ballooned even further by June of this year, as 40,00 more recipients were added.
"Even if they are getting food stamps, they don't have enough sometimes to get through the month, so if we can increase the food at the pantries, they can increase the food on the people's tables. That's the big thing," Dukes added.
Data also showed that nearly a quarter of food stamp recipients were 6 years old or younger. Food bank officials say they now offer food to students through the "Back Pack Program" in an effort to combat that problem.
"Some of the parents that are trying to make ends meet, actually write us letters saying that if they did not get the back pack on the weekend, that their kids may not have had anything to eat until they go back to school."
Dukes said that the Second Harvest Of South Georgia is always looking for volunteers to help those in the community. If you are interested in learning how you can help, go to: www.valdostafoodbank.org