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Feeding Our Future drive aims to help 50 families
A collection bin for the Junior League of Gainesville/Hall County’s food drive sits inside the Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville Tuesday. The Junior League is kicking off its childhood hunger initiative, Feeding Our Future. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

How to help

Collection sites
Animal Medical Care, 984 Thompson Bridge Road
BB&T, six branch locations around Gainesville
Care Medical, 552 South Enota Drive
CB&T Bank, 643 E.E. Butler Parkway
CVS, 1400 Park Hill Drive
Jackson EMC, 1000 Dawsonville Highway
Pediatric Associates, 200 South Enota Drive
Regions Bank, four locations: 3312 Thompson Bridge Road, 615 Shallowford Road, 545 Park Lane, 5205 Cleveland Highway in Clermont
Specialty Clinics, 1250 Jesse Jewell Parkway
UPS, 2254 Centennial Drive
Wells Fargo Advisors, 600 Spring St.
The Longstreet Clinic, 725 Jesse Jewell Parkway
Hall County Courthouse, 225 Green St.

Needed items
Canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruits, canned stews and soups, boxed pasta and sauces, boxed cereals, boxed rice, dried beans, nonrefrigerated beverages, laundry detergent, diapers, baby wipes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo

Under a new food drive in Hall County, 50 local families will receive monthly boxes of food throughout the 2010-2011 school year.

Volunteers with the new childhood hunger initiative, Feeding Our Future, placed boxes at more than 20 locations around the community this week to collect canned goods and personal hygiene products.

The drive is a new outreach program set up by the Junior League of Gainesville/Hall County and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank to help children in both Gainesville City Schools and Hall County Schools.

"Georgia has one of the highest child poverty rates in the nation with over 22 percent of our children under 18 living in poverty. There is an even greater number of children and families at risk of poverty and food insecurity that don't show up in the numbers," said Kay Blackstock, executive director of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank. "These families are one job loss, health crisis or life situation away from collapse. This outreach program is a start at closing the gap on hunger and food insecurity for our children here in Gainesville and Hall County."

Junior League contacted both of the local school systems to identify families to serve during the school year. For its inaugural year, the program will serve 25 families of students at Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School in the city school system and 25 families of students at Chicopee Woods Elementary School in the county school system.

"We focused on talking with social workers in each school system to recommend the areas and schools with the most need," said Julie Nicholson, a Junior League member leading the program. "Those two were the ones that came to the forefront, but the need is in all the schools and hopefully we'll get to all of them eventually."

Speaking with counselors in both school systems and hearing the statistics was "overwhelming," she said.

"I don't think a lot of people realize it's in our own community and is a big need," Nicholson said. "Each school could give multiple examples of children who are in need, and I don't think it hits home for a lot of people. It really is right here in the community."

Students at Brenau Academy picked up the food drive as a project as well and will run part of the campaign throughout the weekend. Junior League will also accept monetary donations for the food drive.

"The food bank can purchase certain items at 16 cents per pound," Nicholson said. "That allows us to multiply the dollars for the families even more."


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