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ALBANY, GA (WALB) - South Georgia charities say they continue to see poverty and unemployment as major problems.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia say they saw a 70 percent increase in the amount of food they were distributing in their 30 county area, and they are now maxed out. But they say the need continues to grow.
The Food Bank of South Georgia is distributing alligator feet to feed the hungry.
Food prices are skyrocketing and expected to continue to rise, and South Georgia charities say they are looking for more inexpensive ways like this to feed as many folks as possible.
The Lord's Pantry in Albany donated more food than they ever have in 2010, but people giving to help feed the hungry went down.
"In 2010 our donations were way down," said Lord's Pantry President Tom Wilburn.
So when alligator feet became available at a good price, they bought 1200 pounds and started giving them out.
"We tried it out several months back and it went over real well. As we had a lot of people say, that's a delicacy. We really like that," Wilburn said.
The Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse in Albany has a lot of empty shelves, because as soon as the food comes in, they send it out to one of the 600 non profit agencies they supply.
Last year they increased their food distribution from 6, 500,000 tons to more than 14,000,000 tons, and substituting alligator feet for chicken or roast beef is how far they are stretching each penny.
"We are also trying to put nutritious meals on the table as well. With the gator feet, which is a good white meat, and it's a delicacy, so we are using those things," said Second Harvest Albany Branch Director Tony Hall.
The Food Bank and the Lord's Pantry says they are hearing from people whose increased heating bills from the cold months took all the money they had for food, and from people getting smaller tax refunds this year than in the past.
So they expect this increased need to continue, until more jobs are available in South Georgia.
The Second Harvest Food Bank is very concerned about proposed state legislation that would re-instate the seven percent sales tax on groceries.
They would have to pay that tax also, so that would amount to a seven percent cut in the amount of food they distribute.
Second Harvest Food Bank officials are asking you to contact your representative, and encourage them not to re-instate that sales tax on groceries. They also encourage you to donate to the Food Bank programs and charities.
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