The Story of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank
I am not a food pantry, although I am sometimes confused as one. I serve a different role; direct client service is not really my thing. I provide food to those food pantries, the ones that call themselves food banks and cause the confusion. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
I serve five counties and 65 groups. I impact the lives of those in Hall, Dawson, Forsyth, Lumpkin, and Union counties by serving those who are insecure. One in every five people that you meet in those counties is food insecure. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
When I was born, I was housed inside of Hollis Transportation and Logistics Warehouse. In the beginning, I had no storage and as soon as food was delivered to me, it needed to be picked up and transported to the people who needed it. Three years later, on Thanksgiving Eve, my foundation was poured and the building that I am today was built. I went from squatting in a warehouse to growing into my own two-story building. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
On April 17, 2012, my doors were opened to the public. The Governor of Georgia and his wife came, many city officials came, as well as large influencers in the community. All of the people who have the power to make a change were now aware of what I needed in order to make sure that those who fight hunger and homelessness had to fight no more. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
` My reach spans over 7,000 volunteers, supporters and donors. I help unite others in taking on the challenge of fighting hunger. Money isn’t the most important thing to me, people are. This journey is about the community. It’s about taking care of one another and realizing that it’s never obvious who the food insecure people are in any community. It’s not always obvious who truly needs help. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
I have brought together thousands of people who all have different ideals, morals and life stories. Some of these people are facing homelessness and food insecurity from the inside, some are facing it from the outside. Every person I have impacted though, shares one common idea; homelessness and food insecurity need to become a thing of the past. These people of Hall County raise money, donate food, and help distribute food. Some of these people receive the donations, overcome the challenges they are facing and become volunteers and donors themselves. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
I was founded as a non-profit organization during the worst economic crisis in recent history. People were losing jobs, people were losing their homes and businesses were shutting down. I was the sunlight breaking through the clouds. I was there to help these people who were losing everything. What happens when my selves become bare? Something’s got to give.
I am innovative and always looking for new ways to help those in need. Through a partnership with the Good News Clinic, I have been able to impact the lives of 25 diabetic patients who are facing homelessness and food insecurity. I provide boxes of food for these patients on a monthly basis, filled with the things that they need to eat in order to stay in good health. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
I don’t always see the people whose lives I change, but I know their names, and I know that I have helped them. I know that I have been able to provide for them in their times of need. I also know I am not reaching everyone that needs my help. I know there are more people I can serve. I need my shelves to be filled so that I can serve everyone that needs my help. What happens when my shelves become bare? Something’s got to give.
I do all of these things, and I provide for multitudes of people. I rise from the ashes to serve. However, I am not recognized as my own. I am recognized as an affiliate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Until I am recognized as my own, I can not truly thrive. I am not given the supplements that I need from the government so that my shelves can be filled, and I can fill the lives of others. My shelves are running alarmingly bare. What will happen when my shelves do become bare? Something’s got to give.
Told By: Cassidy Collier
This story originally appeared in Facing Homelessness in Hall County, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia.