Second Harvest eyes milestone -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Second Harvest eyes milestone

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Second Harvest of South Georgia will soon reach a major milestone in its Albany Kids Café operations; the hunger relief program will soon be serving 1,000 children per day. That is an increase of 60% over the number that were being served just 16 months ago. 

This dramatic growth is a direct result of the construction of a new commercial kitchen in the food bank's Albany branch, which was made possible in part by a grant from the Arby's Foundation.

One in three South Georgia children struggle with hunger daily - the highest rate in the State of Georgia; Georgia ranks fourth in the nation for the most children going hungry. Lack of adequate food and nutrition has long-term effects on children. They are sick more often, can suffer physical and cognitive developmental delays, and are less likely to do well in school. These side effects of childhood hunger perpetuate the cycle of poverty which plagues so much of our area.

Increased capacity to feed children in need was crucial to the food bank's ability to fight hunger in the Albany area. Prior to the construction of the new kitchen, Second Harvest used the kitchen of a local church which limited its output to approximately 400 meals per day. The Albany kitchen, which was completed in early 2013, has the capacity to produce 3,000 meals every 5 hours when fully staffed and equipped.

Second Harvest operates Kids Café programs in three of its four branches, serving more than 2,500 children per day across its 30 county service area. Kids Café provides free meals and snacks to low-income children through a variety of community locations where children already congregate during the after school hours-such as Boys and Girls Clubs, churches or public schools. In addition to providing nutritious meals to kids, the programs offer a safe place, where under the supervision of trustworthy staff, children get enrichment activities and an hour of homework assistance and tutoring.

"We are very proud of our program's success in the Albany area. It's a great to know that hundreds of Albany area kids aren't going hungry at night," said Second Harvest Chief Marketing Officer Eliza McCall, "but we aren't resting on that success. We are actively seeking new partners so we can reach even more children in need."

Organizations in the Albany area interested in participating in the program may contact Albany Kids Café Director Ashley Lawson at (229) 244-2678 ext. 302 for more information.

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