Georgia Farm Bureau Harvest for All Campaign Raises $20,000 for Georgia Food Bank Association
Friday, January 21st, 2022
For the 12th straight year, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) supported the Georgia Food Bank Association by making a financial donation during the GFB Annual Convention, held in December on Jekyll Island.
Funds for the $20,000 donation were raised through Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All campaign, which included donations from county Farm Bureaus and the organization’s state office, The Harvest for All campaign is coordinated by the GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Committee.
“Our farmers are committed to being good stewards,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “Often that is in reference to natural resources, but we are also called to be stewards of our communities. Our Harvest for All donation is one way we give back to our friends and neighbors who are struggling for access to proper nutrition. We are happy and proud to support the Georgia Food Bank Association and its programs.”
According to the Georgia Food Bank Association, food banks on average can provide four meals for every dollar they receive, meaning GFB’s donation will provide approximately 80,000 meals.
McCall and GFB YF&R Committee Chairman Will Godowns presented the check to Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft.
“Georgia's Feeding America food banks continue to respond to increased need that is 30% above pre-pandemic levels,” said Craft. “Harvest for All brings critical food purchasing resources to every region of the state to feed hungry neighbors. We are grateful to the Young Farmers & Ranchers at Georgia Farm Bureau for this support. The future of agriculture in Georgia is bright because of their leadership.”
The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in its report, “Household Food Insecurity in the United States in 2020,” shows an average of 10% of Georgia households (approximately 1.1 million people) experienced food insecurity over the three-year period from 2018 to 2020, meaning that during that time those households experienced periods where their diets were reduced in quality, variety or desirability, or they had disrupted eating patterns or reduced food intake. ERS reported food insecurity in an average of 10.7% (13.9 million) of households nationwide from 2018 to 2020. Food insecurity has been linked to a variety of chronic health issues. The full report is available here.
Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap interactive tool, which tracks county-level hunger statistics, showed that 89 of Georgia’s 159 counties had food insecurity in 15% or more of their households. In Clay, Clinch and Treutlen counties, more than 20 percent of households experienced food insecurity in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are cited in the Map the Meal Gap report. Clinch County had the highest household food insecurity rate in the state, at 21.4 percent.
The Map the Meal Gap report indicated 1,279,310 food insecure people in Georgia in 2019, or 12% of the state’s total population. Nationally, the report estimated more than 35 million food insecure people.
A Feeding America companion report projected an increase to 12.8% of Georgia households that experienced food insecurity in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report estimated 15.9% of the state’s children experienced food insecurity 2021.
In addition to helping with purchases of high-protein foods like chicken and peanut butter, donated money helps the association offset costs associated with collecting and distributing food donations.
In 2014, the association started its Farm to Foodbank program, through which it accepts food donations directly from farmers, who give nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables that grocery chains won’t buy for aesthetic reasons. Donations of food by Georgia’s farmers provide millions of meals each year. The GFBA attributes the success of the Farm to Foodbank program to its affiliation with Georgia Farm Bureau.
Georgia Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All donation will have a statewide impact. The Georgia Food Bank Association distributes the funds to America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia in Savannah, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank (Food Bank of Northwest Georgia), Feeding the Valley in Columbus, the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia in Athens, Golden Harvest in Augusta, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon and Second Harvest of South Georgia in Valdosta. To see which counties each food bank serves, click here.
Since 2004, GFB has coordinated annual Harvest for All campaigns through which GFB members across the state have donated about 49,000 pounds of staple food items and more than $260,000 in cash donations distributed to the food banks located throughout Georgia affiliated with Feeding America.