Hunger, lack of jobs problems in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hunger, lack of jobs problems in South Georgia

^ Dr. P. George Benson ^ Dr. P. George Benson
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January 9, 2003

Albany -- Hunger continues to be a problem in South Georgia. In Albany Business, government, and education leaders gathered to look for ways to spur job growth during tough economic times.

 While economists say things are getting better, many people in South Georgia can't agree. Work goes on at the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia. Ten thousand pounds of food a day is given to the hungry in a 20 county area. And the need continues to grow.

Food Bank Director Eddie Byrd said "There have been some textile plant closings. Jobs are not being created in rural Georgia. It doesn't look any brighter on the horizon, to be honest with you."

That real problem of people in South Georgia not able to earn enough money to feed themselves, is the idea behind the Economic Outlook meeting. P. George Benson, The Dean of the Business College at the University of Georgia, knows South Georgia needs economic stimulus. Benson said "We've lost a tremendous amount of jobs. Last year in the state of Georgia, we lost about 86,000 jobs. That hurts."

 Darton College Economic Professor Amit Singh says that South Georgia's economy is on the upswing, and job growth is coming. Singh said "Go through some painful experience. But the good thing is behind those we are making our economy better for the future. Laying out a foundation for a strong economic future."

But while lunch was served at the economic conference, the Food Bank continues to ship food to the hungry.

Byrd said "To us, it doesn't look good at all. The demand for food is still high. It's higher than ever."

Dean Benson says Albany must continue to position itself as the medical and shopping center of South Georgia. He said the best economic growth potential for South Georgia will be in tourism.

posted at 6:11 by jimw@walb.com

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