BY SAVANNAH KING
Many families today are stretched so thin financially that a traditional Thanksgiving meal just simply isn’t in the budget.
The Georgia Mountain Food Bank is reaching out to the public to help give hungry families something to be thankful for this holiday season.
The food bank is holding a turkey drive called “Bucks for Birds” from Nov. 1-16.
The goal is to raise enough money to purchase 3,500 turkeys or baking hens to distribute to their more than 40 partner agencies across five counties.
“It’s always a challenge at the holidays because partner agencies want to expand what they do for families at holidays,” said Kay Blackstock, the food bank’s executive director.
Most of the agencies try to make a holiday meal basket for the families they serve.
Blackstock said the food bank is now in a position to reach more families since it moved into its new facility on Calvary Industrial Drive in Gainesville.
The new facility, which opened in August, has 3,500 square feet of freezer and cooler space that allows the food bank to hold more perishable food items it couldn’t keep in the past.
“We’re able to do more through the facility,” Blackstock said. “Now we have the capacity to have the public participate and they can drop off hens or turkeys or what have you, and hopefully collect enough to provide for each of our partner agencies and fill their whole orders.”
Even though the campaign hasn’t officially started, it’s off to a good start. Mar-Jac Poultry Inc. in Gainesville donated 1,000 frozen hens to the food bank.
The Student Council Association at Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy is also getting into the holiday spirit by raising money to donate to the food bank to purchase turkeys.
Students started their drive Monday and raised $660 in the first week.
Every classroom has a bulletin board with a turkey on it to display how much the class raised for the drive. For every $5 the students raise, teachers will put a feather on the turkey board. The class with the most feathers at the end of the drive will get a party.
Audrey Shuler, art teacher and sponsor of the Student Council Association, said no one at the school knew what to expect, since this is their first food drive that didn’t involve canned food.
“They’ve done really good. I’m amazed. I don’t think anyone expected it to go as far as it has,” Shuler said.