Touring the Atlanta Community Food Bank

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I was truly excited that I had the chance of touring the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  The Atlanta Community Food Bank has been founded in 1979 and it has procures over 45 million pounds of food and groceries each year and distributes it to more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies serving families and individuals in 29 metro Atlanta and north Georgia counties.  Here is some background information about the Atlanta Community Food Bank below:

Atlanta Community Food Bank utilizes more than 1,000 volunteers a month, over 100 staff members, a large fleet of trucks and a 129,000 square-foot facility to procure and distribute food and grocery items received from hundreds of donors. Our donors include manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, brokers, restaurants, food drives, gardens and individuals. The product is easily accessed by our partner agencies. They place their orders online and arrange for pick up or delivery. Once the food arrives at the agency, it is provided to families and individuals in need.

The mission of the Atlanta Community Food Bank is to fight hunger by engaging, educating and empowering our community. While our core work is food distribution, our efforts extend far beyond that. Our mission is lived out every day through seven projects that help engage, educate and empower both people in need and those who want to help. From supporting community gardens to assisting people in finding economic security, ACFB covers a wide range of opportunities for people to learn and get involved. Our seven projects are Atlanta Prosperity Campaign, Atlanta’s Table, Community Gardens, Hunger 101, Hunger Walk/Run, Kids In Need and Product Rescue Center.

ACFB’s Community Gardens project offers assistance to more than 100 new and existing gardens across metro Atlanta. Volunteers and neighbors come together to grow fresh, healthy food to nourish communities and neighborhoods.

The benefits of Community Gardening are boundless. It stimulates social interaction, beautifies neighborhoods and produces nutritious foods while reducing food budgets. Each garden is a joint effort where friends and neighbors not only share responsibilities, but often the rewards of their harvest as well!

Our tour guide of the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) was Linda Wood and she explained that the new building that the ACFB is in a green living building.  What I saw while begin there that everything was recycled including the outdated donated foods.   There is a machine that ACFB uses called the Digestor which uses special enzymes that break down the food like your own stomach but turns the food into recycle water for the whole building.  Now that is truly green living!!

ACFB also has a very much so up dated with technology that the food client recipients are able to purchase the food online and schedule a time for picking up their food.  Instead of waiting 2 hours they now wait for 15-20 minutes.  Starting in January 2014, ACFB will start a food ranking system in their warehouse where a color coded system will be used to help distribute healthy foods options to all the churches and centers that are involved in the ACFB program.  Currently, ACFB has no nutritional analysis system to let these organizations know which foods are healthy.  ACFB has hired a Registered Dietitian Consultant to assist with making this nutritional analysis system.

An interesting note that for the ACFB clients demands is not so much with food but the highest demand ticket item is Laundry Soap and Diapers!!  So if you want to donate food to the ACFB make sure you add in also these 2 high ticket items to your donation.

Alot of people think that the homeless population is the largest group who come to the ACFB to seek for assistance when it is actually the children who make up about 40% and working families who make up about 36%.  Below are some further statistics from the ACFB:

Over the past three years, the number of Georgia households receiving food stamps has increased by 62%. (Georgia DHR, 2012.)

More than one in every four Georgia children – 28.8% of our children – now live in food insecure households. This is up from 28.3% last year

Nearly 1.8 million Georgians (19.1%) are living in poverty according to the latest US Census Bureau American Community Survey.

In Georgia, the two largest groups that needs assistance is Children – 40% and the Working Poor.

I have really learned alot from this tour at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.  I encourage people to get involve with your community especially with the ACFB.  For more information about ACFB – http://www.acfb.org/

Click here for more photos at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Next week, I will discuss about the Atlanta Farmer’s Market.

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