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Poultry firm donates 23 tons of meat to food bank
Donation largest ever received at GMFB
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Food bank employees Larry Jarrard, left, and Colton Donino inventory the pallets of food and move them to the food bank freezer.

How to help

What: The three main ways to give to GMFB are through time, monetary gifts and donation of food.
When: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Georgia Mountain Food Bank, 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive SW, Gainesville
Contact: 770-534-4111; gamountainfoodbank.org
More info: For more information about how you can give to GMFB, or to request a list of “most wanted” items for the warehouse or food drives, call 770-534-4111.

Georgia Mountain Food Bank in Gainesville got an early Christmas gift Wednesday when Perdue Farms delivered 46,000 pounds of frozen chicken and meat products.

While boxes of the products were being unloaded, Tommy Waters, director of Perdue operations in Gainesville and other representatives were able to talk with food bank staff and Abit Massey, president emeritus of the Gainesville-based Georgia Poultry Federation, about the donation and the growth of the food bank.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to donate,” said Waters. “Obviously with the Christmas season, it’s a great time to give, but it’s important to remember that Christmas is not the only time people are hungry,” Waters added. “It’s year-round, so we have to keep that in mind. But being able to donate — it’s a pleasure,” he said.

Perdue Farms has partnered with Feeding America, a national nonprofit network of food banks, since 2000.

“Perdue committed to donate a minimum of 2 million food products annually to Feeding America and since then, there has been approximately 46 million pounds donated,” Waters said.

“The Georgia Mountain Food Bank, which is affiliated with Feeding America and the Atlanta Community Food Bank, was a part of that donation. Hunger affects every community, and no one should ever have to go hungry,” he said.

Perdue’s gift, which is the largest meat donation ever received at the food bank, is expected to provide more than 37,700 meals to hungry people in North Georgia.

“Forty-six thousand pounds, from a meal factor, equates to about 37,700 meals,” said Steve Mueller, operations director of the food bank. “So the meat product, in addition to the other products that we provide through our agencies that provide meals, will be a big part of that figure.”

The food bank has 58 partner agencies it works directly with in its five-county service area — Hall, Dawson, Forsyth, Lumpkin and Union counties — including other food pantries, soup kitchens, domestic violence shelters, Meals on Wheels and other organizations.

“Those agencies, at the end of this week, will be able to see this inventory in our system. We send out an inventory to our agencies every week, and they’ll see this Perdue product in there and be able to order it as they need it to supply the communities that they serve,” Mueller added.

Perdue’s donation also may have been prompted by an informative lunch meeting a few months ago, Mueller said.

“Recently, Abit (Massey) and Mike Giles (current president of the Georgia Poultry Federation) were kind enough to join us, and we invited some of the local poultry community to have lunch with us and show them around, introduce them to the food bank again and just let them know a little bit about what we do and the communities we serve,” he said.

Massey echoed Mueller on the donation.

“We’re excited about this donation — it is tremendous,” Massey said. “We are very proud of what the food bank has done and are pleased that poultry companies are participating,” he added.

“Some of the others that were at the lunch have made donations, as well. This was the largest, like Steve said, and we are hoping that it will inspire others,” Massey said.

The food bank still needs more volunteers and donations and welcomes any available help.

“It’s fun to come down here and work,” said Richard Riley, who is on the food bank’s board of directors. “It’s a great cause and is really helping people in need,” he added.

For more information on how you can help, call 770-534-4111 or visit gamountainfoodbank.org.

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