My mama had a hardscrabble upbringing during the Depression. As a result, she hated to see anything go to waste. If there was food left on our plate, she would remind us that there were hungry children in some country that would love to have the kind of food we were enjoying.

The current pandemic has created a lot of empty cupboards, not in some third world country, but right here in our neighborhood.

The current estimates in our country reveal that 126 billion pounds of food with a value of $218 billion is wasted every year. I am guilty of purchasing food that is never touched after it lands in the pantry or the refrigerator.

The bottom line is this: There is no reason that people in this country should go to bed hungry.

In June, I will reach the milestone of 60 years on this planet. Have I been hungry before? Yes. But never have I been in a situation where there was absolutely nothing to eat. No.

Many of you come up to me, usually in the grocery store, to tell me you enjoy my columns. When I write about old drugstores with soda fountains or going to Vacation Bible School, it stirs a memory in many of you. That makes me feel good. If you can read yourself into something I have written, then I have accomplished my task.

Therefore, I am asking those of you who are able to give me a birthday present. Actually, I want you to give it to our community.

The wonderful folks at the Georgia Mountain Food Bank have had demands for food like never before. There are a lot of folks who have been out of work and did not receive any financial assistance. There are people who have gone to bed hungry or have done without to see that others in the family get something to eat. Unlike my mama’s admonishment, this isn’t happening halfway across the world, it is more like halfway across the county.

Here’s how you do it. You can make an online contribution to the food bank, by going to You can mail them a check at 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507.

On Saturday, June 20, we will have a drive-through contribution event under the south portico at First Baptist Church on Green Street. We’ll have all the protective gear on and you can bring a can or two or a dozen. Some folks like to give that way, and we will graciously accept it.

If you go to the website you can also learn how you can give by ordering food online. Also, there is a list of needed food items.

You don’t have to put my name on there, just give them the food or the money. It doesn’t matter who gets credit as long as families get fed.

This community has been good to me for the past 30 years, and I want to use the power of the press as a way to get others to join me in saying thank you and giving a little back.

I am earnestly asking for your help and will keep you posted in this space for the next couple of weeks.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly.