GAINESVILLE, Ga.— The Georgia Mountain Food Bank received the Distinguished Service Award at the 2019 Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence (GRACE) Awards gala on Sunday in Atlanta. Nominated alongside Helms College—Edgar’s Hospitality Group and Tropical Smoothie Café, Georgia Mountain Food Bank was chosen by the GRACE Academy as the recipient of this year’s award. All nominees for awards in all categories are peer-nominated, ensuring the most deserving in the industry are recognized. To be eligible for the Distinguished Service Award, organizations must have demonstrated community service, involvement with the Georgia hospitality industry, and leadership in the industry while maintaining high professional standards. Organizations must also enhance the image of hospitality professionals to the community at large.

Kay Blackstock, Executive Director of the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, along with Rich White, founding Board Chair, and Kathleen Owen, current Board Chair, were on hand Sunday to accept the award on behalf of the Food Bank’s efforts.

“Georgia’s hospitality industry is a major advocacy partner for all the food banks in the Georgia Food Bank Association,” said Blackstock. “Through donations of food, funds, time and talents, this industry stands with us in creating awareness and empowering communities to work towards a hunger-free Georgia.” Blackstock went on to say, “At the center of all we do is people and food. Food is necessary for survival, but food also brings people together. We get up every morning to go to work to serve others because we know that much can be accomplished together and that everyone should have a seat at the table.”

The awarding of this honor comes at a busy time for Blackstock and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, as preparations are in place for the opening of the “Still Hungry in America” exhibit at the Quinlan Arts Center in Gainesville, Ga on Thursday, August 15, and as excitement builds around GMFB’s annual Empty Bowl Luncheon, which will take place this year at Lanier Tech’s Ramsey Conference Center on September 24. For more information about supporting the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, please call 770-534-4111 or visit