AgGeorgia Farm Credit’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the cooperative is donating a total of $50,000 to regional food banks in the association’s territory, with the funds to be used by the food banks to purchase products directly from local farmers. $25,000 of this total is going to Second Harvest of South Georgia to establish the Homegrown Help campaign. The remainder will be distributed between Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank. $5,000 in produce was already given to assist the northwest Georgia service area of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, through cooperation with Rep. Kasey Carpenter’s “Georgia Grown to Go” event in Dalton in May.
The COVID-19 pandemic and related closures have drastically increased the need for food assistance in Georgia. According to Second Harvest of South Georgia, since March the food bank has distributed double the amount of food it had in 2019 – an additional 2 million meals worth. The need is only anticipated to grow as unemployment benefits run out later this summer.
Georgia’s agriculture community has likewise been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic. With schools and restaurants closed, Georgia produce growers in particular have had few market outlets. Few processing options exist in the region to extend the shelf life of these valuable crops.
This is where Homegrown Help comes in – to benefit not just the families needing food but also Georgia farmers. Funds raised will go to purchase Georgia Grown produce; in turn, Second Harvest of South Georgia will provide these nutritious fruits and vegetables to families in need. AgGeorgia Farm Credit, as co-founder of this campaign, has committed an initial $25,000 to this initiative. Individuals and businesses are also able to contribute to this fundraising campaign by texting “HOMEGROWN” to 619-870-1680, or by going to www.feedingsga.org.
Although Homegrown Help donations go directly to Second Harvest of South Georgia, those wanting to instead contribute to the Feeding America food bank in their area can find them at FeedingAmerica.org. AgGeorgia’s donations of $5,000 to each of these previously noted food banks are also earmarked for use by each to purchase farm products directly from local farmers.
For Second Harvest and AgGeorgia, the project was the perfect fit and opportunity to work together.
“We are thrilled to partner with Second Harvest on this campaign, and we invite other organizations and individuals to support this effort,” said AgGeorgia Farm Credit Board Chairman Dave Neff. “It is wonderful to be able to get local produce to families in need while simultaneously supporting Georgia farmers.