What is a food bank?

A food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger relief charities. Food usually comes from various sources in the food industry, like grocery stores and wholesalers, that have thousands of pounds of food to give away – food that could otherwise be thrown away.

We warehouse the food, and with help from volunteers, sort, pack and redistribute it to the community. Traditionally, a food bank does not distribute food directly to those in need.

Who gets food?

Our partners are responsible for determining how the food is distributed to individuals in need. Last fiscal year, approximately 3,983 households per week received food assistance.

Partners do not “buy” food from Georgia Mountain Food Bank but pay a handling fee. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations prohibit the re-selling of donated food. While IRS regulations prohibit the re-selling of donated food, they specifically permit food banks (and only food banks) to charge a small fee to help offset the costs associated with handling donated food. These fees are the partner’s shared fee.

Where does the food bank get food?

The Georgia Mountain Food Bank puts high priority on making wholesome, nutritious foods available to our partners. Much of what we distribute is fresh produce, dairy products, fresh meats, and other refrigerated and frozen products. Last year, food for 5,720,422 million nutritious meals left our docks; that includes canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, fruit juices, and many other types of nonperishable foods.

Most food donations come from the food industry. In fact, GMFB receives approximately 90,000 pounds of food items from retail partners, which accounts for about 51 percent of the overall food donations. There are many reasons why products are donated. They may be mislabeled, overproduced, test-market items and products with short code dates.

Some food is donated by the USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and, sometimes, we have to purchase food with donated dollars, to make sure that all in need have access to hope.

How can my company donate food?

Of course, there is nothing like the joy of knowing you rescued food and made a difference in the lives of those in need. If you or your company has a large food donation that you would like to make, or one that needs to be picked-up, please call 770-534-4111.

What is the difference between a food bank, food pantry, and soup kitchen?

A food bank solicits, stores and distributes large donations of food, donations that a single food pantry could not accept because of a lack of storage capacity at their facility. Food banks feed the needs of hungry people by distributing the donations they receive to a large number of member agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, meal programs, drug treatment centers, and senior care centers. Our food bank also provides food to families who do not have access to food pantries through our Mobile Neighborhood Fresh program.

A food pantry provides short-term food packages to families that have a place to live, but not enough food. These packages are designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals.

Soup kitchens serve individuals in need of a hot meal, the only meal of the day for many of them. Most soup kitchens serve a full, balanced meal, and some prepare and deliver meals to the homebound, as well.

How do you contact someone at the food bank?

For food assistance, volunteering, general inquiries, making donations, and receiving, call the Georgia Mountain Food Bank at 770-534-4111, Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. We can help you identify a hunger relief partner near you. You can also click this link 24/7 “where people can find help” (yet to be created) to find a partner agency near you as well as times they are open.

How do you get food?

For food assistance, call the Georgia Mountain Food Bank at 770-534-4111, Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. We can help you identify a hunger relief partner near you. You can also click this link 24/7 “where people can find help” (yet to be created) to find a partner agency near you as well as times they are open.

Remember that our mission is to get food to our partners who can get food to those in need. For emergency needs for first time callers, we can provide limited resources to hold you over until you can get to a partner agency.

How do you volunteer?

Georgia Mountain Food Bank relies on volunteers to help with sorting, packing, and distributing food. GMFB welcomes individuals, groups, and the with court mandates to volunteer with us. Please select the link below to register.

Please note, due to COVID-19, we are only able to offer limited volunteer opportunities at this time.

Why should I support Georgia Mountain Food Bank?

Because we know you care. Georgia Mountain Food Bank serves an important mission to address hunger, health and quality of life by serving those in need throughout North Georgia. It does so in a very efficient and cost-effective manner with a commitment to serve nutritious food mindful of the need to reduce food waste and driven by the call to eliminate hunger. Your help is needed because requests for emergency food have been steadily increasing for children, seniors, the working poor and the many who now find themselves unemployed. Your donation to the Food Bank will go a long way toward alleviating hunger in our community.

Where do you get your funding?

Georgia Mountain Food Bank is privately funded through a diversity of revenue sources, including our annual Empty Bowl special fundraising event, individual donations, corporate and foundation grants, testamentary and estate gifts, and local agencies such as local churches and the United Way.

We strive to be good stewards of our donors’ trust. In fact, 92 cents of every charitable dollar received is put back into the mission of distributing food, and every dollar given generates the equivalent of 5 meals to those in need. Additionally, one percent of financial gifts received are placed in our Food for Tomorrow endowed fund, which insures our ability to feed now and always the hungry in our midst.

Please add your donation and support to our cause. Donate

Which do you need more: food or money?

Donating food provides a variety of nutritious, quality products for which we are grateful; however, money goes much further. Georgia Mountain Food Bank can stretch your dollar through our partnerships with the food industry. In fact, for every dollar donated we are able to obtain and distribute five meals. Where else can you donate and see a fivefold impact on your generosity?

Where can I drop off food?

We gladly accept donations of unopened food and food that is under a year beyond the expiration date. We accept donations here at the food bank between 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m Monday – Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Friday.

What food items do you need most?

Canned goods comprise the bulk of our stock and we are always in need of more. By keeping food reserves at our facility, we are able to provide for those in need in a sustainable way. With your donation, we are able to fill our pantries with much needed, non-perishable low sodium/low sugar healthy food supplies. Feel free to bring your donation to the Food Bank directly or call us to schedule a pick-up for large amounts.

Our Most Needed Items link:


How do I start a food drive?

Every year over ____ pounds of food are donated to Georgia Mountain Food Bank through community food drives!

To register a food drive, please click here.
For more information on food drives, please contact Whitney at whitney@gamountainfoodbank.org or at 770-534-4111, ex. 208.

Please click here to download our “Most Needed Items List.”

Can I donate directly from the farm?

Georgia is one of the country’s biggest areas for agriculture and we work directly with cultivators who wish to donate. If you’re a farmer and have excess supplies of fruits and vegetables, consider donating them to Georgia Mountain Food Bank. If you are unable to bring your donation to the GMFB facility, just call us to schedule a time for us to pick-up your donation.

Can I donate food through Amazon and have the food delivered?

In order to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers during Covid-19, the best way to donate food is through Amazon delivery.

Order from AMAZON SMILE and ship food from our MOST NEEDED ITEMS LIST directly to the Food Bank at our mailing address, 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive SW, Gainesville, Georgia 30507.

How can my organization get involved as a partner agency?

Organizations interested in partnering with the food bank must be a 501c3 nonprofit organization that serves the needy. If interested in partnering with us, contact Agency Services at lydia@gamountainfoodbank.org for more information.

Stay in the know!

Sign up to get the latest Food Bank news right to your inbox.

Subscribe Today

Newsletter Sign Up Form

Current News