Tifton Gazette

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November 13, 2012

Tiftarea Food Bank asking for help from community

TIFTON — Tiftarea Food Bank needs a new location, donations and volunteers.

“A small committee of volunteers work tirelessly to keep the Tiftarea Food Bank in operation. It operates under the guidance of a board of directors and all volunteer staff. The board of directors know that it is God’s work, which for Him is feeding the hungry — folks from childhood well into their senior years,” says Kim Ezekiel, who is on the board of directors. “We are thankful for the food bank’s current location. It has sufficed for a number years; however, the current location is no longer a viable option from which to operate the food bank.”

Ezekiel said the committee is looking for a new location or funds to purchase a portable building suitable to accommodate the monthly distribution of food to needed families.

The Tiftarea Food Bank was established in 1984 and has been serving Tifton-Tift County for almost three decades. It is a 501(3) charitable non-profit corporation that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough to avoid hunger. While the food bank is located on the south side of Tifton, it serves the entire Tifton community, said Ezekiel.

She stated that the local food bank recognizes that citizens across the Tifton community are experiencing tough economic times.

“Especially with an unemployment rate hovering over 7.9 percent, everyone is feeling the effects of the recession,” she said. “As a result, more people than ever before are facing food emergencies and are looking for help to put food on the table.”

Ezekiel explained that the Tiftarea Food Bank has seen a dramatic increase in need compared to this time last year. Within the past 12 months, the food bank has served over 1,200 households comprising of over 4,000 individuals with the average distribution of at least 25 pounds per household. Ezekiel noted that these numbers are just a rough estimate.

“There have been many times the food bank ran out of food due to lack of funds and food,” she said. “The food bank receives referrals from all of the agencies who serve people who are in dire need; however, due to the small amount of funds and food donations, the food bank only operates one day each month. Our goal is to serve everyone who has a proven need and as often as needed.”

While the need for food is at an all-time high, donations are unfortunately down, Ezekiel added. She said the cost of food continues to rise, making it even harder for the food bank to make ends meet.

“The Tiftarea Food Bank is seeking donations to help with the food supplies, donations to either purchase a portable building or someone to donate the use of a new location,” she stated. “The only funds that the food bank receives are from dues that the committee pays each month and a very small group of local donors, which only amounts to about $200 per month. As you can see, the community food bank is running short on donations. It’s a real tough time for the Tiftarea Food Bank.”

Ezekiel stated that with more users, fewer sponsors and an eroding location, the Tiftarea Food Bank is scrambling to survive.

“We need volunteers and donations,” she stressed. “Although all donations are helpful, financial donations go further than food donations. The Tiftarea Food Bank can purchase food at wholesale costs. A donated can of food feeds one person, but a dollar donation can provide up to 10 meals. So, this is a great time to help a neighbor and lend a hand to a member of our community. We can all make a difference by volunteering some of our time or by making a contribution. Please help us to meet our need to serve the Tifton community better. Help us with a new location and help provide food to more families who are in need.”

Those interested in helping can contact any of the following board of directors: Ezekiel, Chairman Nancy Holt, David Shepherd, Lucille Russell, Betty Sue Moore, Lillie Bell Washington, Willie and Eugene Burns, Vickie Wilson and Marion Paulhill.

All correspondence and donations can be sent to the Tiftarea Food Bank, P.O. Box 7312, Tifton, GA 31793.

For more information, contact Ezekiel at 386-1390.

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