Second Harvest of South Georgia and AgGeorgia Farm Credit are pleased to announce Homegrown Help, a new joint initiative to combat the effects of COVID-19 in the area. The Farm Credit cooperative is a long-time supporter of the food bank’s work, but Homegrown Help marks the first partnership between the two organizations.
Disasters and emergency situations like the COVID-19 outbreak compound our existing food insecurity crisis. The pandemic and related closures have drastically increased the need for food assistance in South Georgia. Since March, Second Harvest 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.
South Georgia’s agriculture community has likewise been hit incredibly hard. With schools and restaurants closed, our area growers have few market outlets. They have seen too much supply and not enough demand. 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 our area farmers. Funds raised will go to purchase Georgia Grown produce; in turn, the food bank will provide these nutritious fruits and vegetables to families in need. AgGeorgia Farm Credit, as co-founder of this campaign, has committed $25,000 to this initiative as part of a larger $50,000 total donation to regional food banks in their service area. Second Harvest anticipates many local individuals and businesses will want to contribute to this fundraising campaign and has several large donors who have already expressed interested. Individuals can donate by texting “HOMEGROWN” to 619-870-1680, or by going to www.feedingsga.org.
“We really appreciate AgGeorgia and Second Harvest partnering together on this,” said Justin Corbett of Corbett Brothers Farms, long-time produce growers in Lake Park, Georgia. “For many years we have supported Second Harvest and understand the great benefit that they provide in our community. We are also proud to be a member of an organization like AgGeorgia Farm Credit that is willing to step in to help in times like these.”
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.”
“We are so excited about Homegrown Help because of the positive impact it will have not just on our neighbors in need but on the farmers who live, work, and worship right here in South Georgia,” added Eliza McCall, Second Harvest of South Georgia’s Chief Marketing Officer.
ABOUT AGGEORGIA FARM CREDIT
AgGeorgia Farm Credit is an agricultural lending cooperative owned by over 4,500 member-borrowers, proud to have been helping Georgia grow for generations. AgGeorgia provides farm loans for land, equipment, livestock and production; rural home mortgages, and services such as crop insurance and leasing. AgGeorgia Farm Credit has 20 branches serving 79 counties in Georgia. It is part of the national Farm Credit System, a network of financial cooperatives established in 1916 to provide a dependable source of credit to farmers and rural America. For more information, visit www.aggeorgia.com.
ABOUT SECOND HARVEST OF SOUTH GEORGIA
Second Harvest of South Georgia serves 26 counties; it is the largest rural food bank in Georgia and one of the largest rural food banks in the nation. Headquartered in Valdosta, the organization has locations in Thomasville and Tifton. Through its network of over 450 partner charities and through our programs, the food bank distributed over 6 million pounds of food during just the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on Second Harvest and how to get or give help, visit www.feedingsga.org or call (888) 455-4143.