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December 13, 2016

Hunger Does Not Go on Holiday

Realtor Food DriveAs many families are making plans for holiday gatherings, meals and celebrations, one in five people in our community still faces the uncertainty of not knowing if a next meal will even come at all.

“Hunger does not go on holiday,” said Kay Blackstock, executive director of Georgia Mountain Food Bank (GMFB). “In fact, often the holidays can be even tougher times for families since they come at the end of the month when money and food stamps are short or gone, the kids are out of school and not receiving free meals, and many helping organizations are closed or have reduced staff. That is why it is important that GMFB, and our 65 partner agencies, work hard year round to try to ensure hardworking neighbors don’t have to face these kinds of tough realities, especially around the holidays.”

This is why the Hall County Board of REALTORS® decided to use their annual holiday luncheon as a time to give back to the counties and communities they serve by hosting a community food and fund drive on December 14 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center to benefit GMFB.

“We were looking for an opportunity to help our community this holiday season,” said David McKinley, 2016 President of Hall County Board of REALTORS®. “We are the largest trade organization nation-wide that exists and the Food Bank was the perfect partnership for us to leverage the support of our more than 300 members and the clients, community and even strategic partners we serve to benefit those in need this holiday season.”

The Hall County Board of REALTORS® invites the community to participate on December 14 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. where they will be at the Gainesville Civic Center collecting food and fund donations throughout the afternoon. Specifically they are asking the community to consider donating healthy shelf-stable foods items low in sodium and sugar and high in fiber or protein.

“Georgia Mountain Food Bank focuses its efforts on not just feeding people, but they are following the national trend to help people eat better and be well,” continued McKinely.

Suggested food items might include:
• Whole grain pasta
• Canned spaghetti sauce
• Peanut butter and jelly (low sugar)
• Canned meat (chicken, tuna, roast beef)
• Canned fruit (no sugar added)
• Cereal (low sugar)
• Oatmeal or cereal
• Canned vegetables (low sodium)
• Canned meals (i.e. Chef Boyardee, soups, tuna)

In addition to food, they will also be collecting funds.

“For every 10 dollars we can collect GMFB can provide 50 meals,” exclaimed McKinely. “The impact of GMFB is significant and that is a powerful return on investment, so if you don’t have a chance to pick up food for our drive, please still feel free to drop by and provide a donation or send one in to any of our partnering firms or realtors.”

In 2016 GMFB made great strides in its fight against hunger including:
• Distributed more food than the year before, a number that continues to rise each year with more than 32 million that has passed through our warehouse since 2008 to agencies, programs and special projects.
• Served more than 25,000 people monthly through our 65 partner agencies.
• Hosted more than 4388 volunteers who donated more than 11,690 hours of service. (calendar year Jan – Nov 2016)
• Received the proceeds from more than 100 community food drives collecting more than 68,000 pounds of food. (calendar year Jan – Nov 2016)
• Built relationships with corporate food donors receiving more than 600,000 lbs. of food.

“At Georgia Mountain Food Bank, we believe that in working together we can solve hunger,” Blackstock continued. “It is through community collaborations, tremendous support of our corporate and community partners, like the Hall County Board of REALTORS®, and relationships with our agencies that we can accomplish work like this and begin to make an impact on hunger in our five-county service area of Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Union and Lumpkin counties.”

“We ask that as you as you prepare for the holidays, consider giving a gift to provide a meal for a family facing uncertainty this holiday,” said Rich White board chair of GMFB. “For every dollar donated to GMFB, we can provide five meals to those in need. It’s a gift that is more than just food – it is a gift of hope, grace and love to those who need it the most.”

To learn more about GMFB visit gamountainfoodbank.org or call 770-534-4111. To learn more about the Hall County Board of REALTORS® Holiday Food Drive call Natalya Jones, Association Executive for Hall County Board of REALTORS® at (770) 534-1564.

December 13, 2016