Since taking office in 2011, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has undertaken initiatives to draw attention to community food banks across Georgia. Specifically, Gov. Deal and his wife, First Lady Sandra Deal, have supported the Georgia Mountain Food Bank and 10 years into its existence, the food bank is now vital to the health of many northeast Georgia residents. Later this summer, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank will honor the Deals with a commemorative bowl that represents many of the policies that helped drive Georgia forward during Gov. Deal’s time as governor.


“Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal have made healthy living a foundation of their service both to the state of Georgia and their home community,” said Georgia Mountain Food Bank Executive Director Kay Blackstock. “Georgia Mountain Food Bank has put the Deals’ hopes and desires into action here in northeast Georgia by providing nutritious, affordable meals to citizens in need. And we could not do that without the support of people like Gov. Deal and Mrs. Deal.”


The “Deal Legacy Bowl” includes illustrations of Gov. Deal’s “orchards of opportunity” references in his final State of the State address to the Georgia General Assembly, which highlighted initiatives that helped Georgia earn the distinction of the No. 1 state in which to do business for five consecutive years by Site Selection Magazine. There are also depictions of other pillars from Gov. Deal’s time as governor including criminal justice reform, education, economic development and cancer awareness and treatment.


“We understand the importance of Georgia’s families having healthy meals for proper nutrition, yet thousands of families in our state grapple with hunger,” said Gov. Deal. “The effects of hunger are even more accentuated for children who may not have access to meals after school hours and during the summer months, as hunger impairs their health and ability to learn, which can negatively affect our communities for years to come. The Georgia Mountain Food Bank admirably provides nutrition for the residents of the communities it serves. Sandra and I are proud to have played a role in the growth of the food bank, as it connects some of Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens with nutrition. The Georgia Mountain Food Bank is doing great work for our communities today while also investing in the long-term future of our state.”


The Georgia Mountain Food Bank distributes food in Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin and Union counties. With the help of more than 4,800 volunteers and partnerships with 75 agencies, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank delivered more than 4 million meals in 2017.


“During my time a school teacher, I saw firsthand what hunger could do to hold children back from reaching their full potential,” said Mrs. Deal. “As an advocate for proper nutrition for young learners, I remember keeping a snack drawer in my desk at school for hungry students. It’s inspiring to see the work that the Georgia Mountain Food Bank does to help children as well as cancer patients, those affected by diabetes and others who struggle to provide their families with healthy meals. In the last decade, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank has become a valuable asset for northeast Georgia communities and I commend those involved.”


Supporters of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank will gather at the Empty Bowl banquet on Sept. 25 and proceeds from the event will benefit hunger relief in northeast Georgia communities. The banquet will also include bowls for auction painted by local and national celebrities, including a Georgia Bulldogs bowl from University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, an Atlanta Falcons bowl, a bowl by WILKES from The Voice, a Joe Diffie Green Tractor bowl, a Georgia Grown bowl from Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, a bowl by country music star Josh Turner, a bowl honoring Abit Massey,  and a piece by Frank Norton.


“When Gov. Deal and Sandra Deal look at this state, northeast Georgia and Hall County, they want to see a community that is vibrant and full of life,” said Brett Fowler, chairman of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank. “If a child cannot get enough to eat, he or she is going to struggle in the classroom and fall behind. If a cancer patient cannot get the proper nutrition, he or she faces an even tougher prognosis. And if an individual with diabetes does not eat healthy, his or her very life is at stake every day. The Georgia Mountain Food Bank does a tremendous job of helping those in need and providing a helping hand, not just through food but through education as well. The Georgia Mountain Food Bank plays a vital role for so many here in our community and the Deal family helped make that happen.”