Middle Georgia Community Food Bank calls a state of emergency
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Middle Georgia Community Food Bank is calling a state of emergency due to the rising number of hungry kids. There are 117,000 students in school districts across Middle Georgia. Ninety-five thousand of them are on free and reduced lunch programs.
The Middle Georgia Community Food Bank helps provide food for programs fighting childhood hunger. According to the food bank’s executive director David Griffin, the food bank serves more than three thousand families, but more than ninety-two thousand kids in Middle Georgia are still in need of these programs. Griffin says growing poverty is increasing the demand for childhood hunger programs.
“We definitely don’t have enough food. We definitely don’t have enough money to go out and purchase the food. We definitely don’t have enough volunteers, so that means unfortunately, some kids we won’t be able to get to,” Griffin said.
The shelves at Forest Hills United Methodist Church’s Backpack Ministry are full, because they know some student’s fridges maybe empty at home.
Every Friday, Backpack Ministry sends out bags of food to students so they have something to eat during weekends. Eight years ago, the Backpack Ministry had only nine students in the church’s program. Today, they provide 1,800 students with food every weekend. But with the growing number of kids needing help, there’s been some food insecurity within the program.
The Backpack Ministry Coordinator at Forest Hills United Methodist Church, Brenda Lambert, says “Lately, we’ve had to turn down the schools that had needed to add more and there just wasn’t enough food for us to be able to say ‘yes’ we can add more children.”
Backpack programs like this, and mobile pantries are struggling to feed every kid in need.
Bibb County School Board President Lester Miller says kids who go to school hungry are more likely to repeat a grade, miss school, and have behavioral issues.
Griffin says the food bank is in need of volunteers.