Fitzgerald factory making food packets to fight world hunger

WALB’s Jim Wallace sat down with the CEO of a food packet manufacturer based out of Fitzgerald that’s working to provide food for those in need.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 9:50 PM EDT
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FITZGERALD, Ga. (WALB) - Hunger and malnutrition is an issue that affects people at home and in countries around the world. WALB’s Jim Wallace sat down with the CEO of a food packet manufacturer based out of Fitzgerald that’s working to provide food for those in need.

Mark Moore. He is the CEO of Mana Nutrition. And Mark, you’re telling me that world hunger right now is an issue that Mana is watching very closely.”Mana Nutrition CEO Mark Moore said.

“It is Jim, and thank you for the interest and it’s the type of thing that goes under the radar because hunger is a normal thing. Hunger is our friend. You know we need hunger. We need hunger and our marriages and our jobs and our football teams. When you’re in a situation where you can’t get access to food and hunger becomes an enemy and it becomes deadly. So what we do is we make these packets and it’s not for every hungry person. We’re targeted at the very tip of the spear. We’re looking at kids who are severely, acutely malnourished. And Jim, for these kids, it’s actually odd. They’re not even hungry anymore. They’ve ceased to be hungry because of the deficiencies that they face. So in Fitzgerald, we make this peanut butter. It comes in a packet and it’s just a six-week treatment. It’s really more like medicine than a food and with kids will eat this for about 3 weeks. They start really picking up and looking better and it’s six weeks. It puts it back to a normal state of normal weight and fights that kind of most urgent aspect of hunger.”

A lot of people think world hunger probably is falling out of the headlines. You’re saying Sierra Leone right now has, in a real emergency.

“It does. We were approached by a group in Sierra Leone telling us that the UN, you know, budgets, we’re not meeting their needs right now and we are trying to help. So we reached out to the American Peanut Council and to peanut shellers and others around Georgia. Tyron Spearman actually helped us to reach out and just say if there’s anyone out there that would like to help us out the front end of actually pour in the peanuts in the hopper. We can roast them, grind them, and turn it these packets. So we’re looking for some people to help us out because right now, it’s Sierra Leone we’re talking about tens of thousands of kids under six who need to be the nutrition,” Moore said.

Do South Georgia peanut farmers usually hear that call and heed it?

“Oh yeah. You know, you and I were talking yesterday that it’s amazing. I think that Georgia peanut farmers are immediately empathetic because they understand what it means to have tough times. I mean, most people who run a peanut farm, they’re not hanging out at the Ritz Carlton. You know they’re working every day that make ends meet. A lot of them came from poor families. And a lot of them have done really well with their, you know, careers, but they understand and they’re empathetic. So yeah, we always get a fantastic response and because people are generous and not more generous than the Georgia peanut farmers, I’d say,” Moore said.