Food bank kicks off annual drive early - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Food bank kicks off annual drive early

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A Lowndes County food bank has kicked off it's annual Hunger 101 Food Drive earlier than usual this year because of the critical need for food. Schools are teaming up to help out.

A desperate need for food, led America's Second Harvest of South Georgia to start its annual Hunger 101 Food Drive early this year.

"This will be our fourth year, but normally we run the food drive in October," said Major Norene Olse, Lowndes High Teacher. "This year, however they called us a week ago."

Area schools participate in the Hunger 101 program including Lowndes County and Valdosta City Schools. As students collect non-perishable food items they're also learning about hunger. Lowndes High exceeded its goal during last year's event.

"Last year we got 2,100 pounds of food," said Major Olsen. "Our goal was 2,000 and we made it to 2,100."

Second Harvest exceeded 150,000 pounds of food during its postal food drive in May and still have a tremendous need.

"We have almost completely run out of all the excess we got," said Zapf.

Their member agencies including the soup kitchen, non-profit food pantries and nursing homes come through each week. 

"We've seen about a 30 percent increase in foot traffic from our member agencies here," said Zapf. 

A lot of the food taken contains protein because it's nutritious especially for children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.

Many of the purchased food products are flying off the shelves leaving the cupboards bare at Second Harvest of South Georgia.

"We just need non-perishable food items anything in boxes, bags, or cans any kind of canned vegetables, canned fruits are always good," said Zapf. "Meats are always welcome."

America's Second Harvest of South Georgia serves 10 counties and approximately 250,000 people.

The total poundage of food collected from Valdosta High and Lowndes High will be announced at their annual rivalry football game on October 9 at Martin Stadium.

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