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Guest column: The season to feed hope
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As we face the realities of the world in which we live today and heading into the season of giving thanks, we find that for many this season is one of hopelessness and despair. To that end, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank exists to provide food and hope to food insecure individuals in Northeast Georgia.

With unemployment reaching 10 percent and more than 20 percent of our children living in poverty, the demand on our food pantries served by the Georgia Mountain Food Bank has never been greater. In the first 10 months of this year, we have distributed more than a half million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than 400,000 meals, with the demand for food increasing daily.

As we enter the Thanksgiving and holiday seasons, the goal of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank and our member food pantries is to provide food and hope to the thousands of men, women and children who find themselves without enough food and resources to meet their basic needs.

We see many adults skipping meals so that their children will have enough to eat. We see the elderly who are cutting back or can’t afford enough to eat and still have enough money to pay for their medications. We see single moms with children, families of the unemployed and the elderly all struggling just to get by.

We see one common denominator this time of year and that is good folks that have fallen on hard times faced with trying to provide holiday meals and gifts for their children and grandchildren.

While this season brings much joy, we must not forget those among us who face the cruelty that comes from having to tell a child or loved one that they can’t provide a festive meal, much less a gift this holiday season. What a truly horrible thing to witness is the face of a parent who can’t provide for their family and children.

As we strive to bring food and hope to the thousands of food insecure individuals and families in Hall, Forsyth, Lumpkin, Dawson and Union counties, we are so appreciative that during our first year of service we have been so welcomed and supported by this community.

As we enter our second year, your help is needed more than ever. From monetary donations that can provide $8 worth of food for every $1 donated, to food drives, to funds to help us acquire a building and equipment and to volunteering at a food distribution, your support is needed now more than ever.

Here’s to wishing each and everyone a joyous and bountiful Thanksgiving and holiday season.

Kay Blackstock is executive director of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, P.O. Box 233, Gainesville, GA 30503; phone, 770-967-0075.