VALDOSTA – A government grant enables Second Harvest of South Georgia to bring more food to children in the local community.
The Georgia Nutrition Assistance Program, a newly implemented food program, is funded by a grant from the Georgia General Assembly and the Department of Human Services.
It provides an opportunity for state food banks to provide groceries to eligible families with children, said Eliza McCall, Second Harvest’s chief marketing officer.
The grant will be used on-site to create child nutrition kits, which are storage crates. These include macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, peanut butter, canned chicken, ravioli, and other products.
“Normally we would only offer this food through our partner agencies, but due to COVID so many of them have had to drastically change their working hours or some of them have closed their doors for obvious reasons,” she said had to find another way to get this diet in getting the hands of families to make sure these children have them. “
Second Harvest decided to distribute the grocery boxes during monthly grocery distributions in Thomasville, Tifton, and Valdosta.
“It was born out of necessity because we had to bring the food to the kids, and this seems like the best way to do that for now,” McCall said. “… Our goal is to make this food available to as many children as possible.”
Although the pandemic was difficult, she said food insecurity among children has always been a major issue.
The ratio for children living in a home with no stable source of food is one in four, McCall said.
“If you complicate that when kids are at home studying virtually, or when kids are at home because they are quarantined for various reasons, it’s important that we get these boxes out to these families to make sure that the children get the nutrition they need. ” She said.
The first GNAP giveaway is Saturday, February 19, 7:30 am at Thomasville Central County High School, 4686 US-84, in Thomasville.
The agency will then distribute the nutrition packs on Saturday, February 27th at 7:30 am at Valdosta High School, 4590 Inner Perimeter Road, in Valdosta.
Eligible Families are those who receive or cede temporary support for families in need, who are receiving a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or EBT benefits, who qualify for PeachCare for Kids, who receive free or reduced school meals, or who live in council housing or apartments as described in Section 8.
The criteria also include families with children living in their home who are 17 years or younger, residents earning $ 8 an hour or less, families receiving benefits through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, residents receiving Medicaid, as well as child benefit for women, infants and children.
Proof of eligibility must be presented with distributions such as a PeachCare for Kids card, an EBT food stamp card, or a student ID card for a local school system.
Forms must be filled out when they are distributed.
According to McCall, the food available in each box varies based on inventory, so no two boxes might look the same.
Depending on the organizer, they will be donated depending on availability, one per eligible household and not per child, a maximum of two households per car.
The agency does not ask anyone to come to the food distributors before 4:30 a.m. Groceries are available while supplies last.
For more information, call (888) 453-4143.