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Posted: December 20, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Farm Bureau helps combat hunger

Newton County Farm Bureau members recently collected staple groceries and monitary donations for Georgia food banks during the statewide Harvest for All campaign coordinated by Georgia Farm Bureau.

Staple items collected included cereal, dried, beans, canned meats, soups and vegetables, rice, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese and boxed meal kits.

"In these difficult economic times it is especially important for us to combat hunger," said Brent Galloway, Newton County Farm Bureau president said. "Farmers are facing a lot of challenges right now, but we recognize that many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. This was our way of helping ease those concerns."

GFB’s statewide Harvest for All effort collected and distributed more than 11,000 pounds of food and raised $8,276.02, which was donated to various food banks around the state. Beginning in September, GFB collected food at its 10 district meetings. Each district had a designated food bank to which the food was sent. Donations were accepted from every county Farm Bureau across the state.

According to a survey by the Economic Research Service of the USDA during the years 2001 through 2007, 18.3 percent of Georgia’s households had "low food security," meaning they did not have dependable access to enough food to sustain a healthy life. The national average during that time was 16.2 percent.

"As farmers, we’re in the business of feeding people," said GFB President Zippy Duvall. "It’s extremely important that we remember those whose circumstances leave them exposed to hunger. We feel like we’re in a position to do something about it, and that’s what the Harvest For All program is about."

The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee coordinated the Harvest for All Campaign in cooperation with Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States.

Since 2004, GFB has coordinated five Harvest for All food drives through which GFB members from across the state have donated approximately 49,000 pounds of staple food items and $20,478.02 in cash donations distributed to the eight food banks located throughout Georgia affiliated with Feeding America. In 2005, GFB members collected 17,000 pounds of food, which were donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina in Hancock County, Miss., where the eye of the storm hit.

Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors. GFB also has 20 commodity advisory committees that give the organization input on issues pertinent to the major commodities grown in Georgia.

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