Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black (left) works alongside DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond to distribute the 600 boxes of fresh produce. (Jenni Girtman for Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Photo: Jenni Girtman for Atlanta Journal Constitution
Photo: Jenni Girtman for Atlanta Journal Constitution

DeKalb announces another big food giveaway, partnership with food bank

DeKalb County will host another big food giveaway this weekend, distributing some 26 tons of produce and protein to residents in need. 

County officials also announced Tuesday a $600,000 partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank — an effort they said will increase the supply at local food pantries by more than 30% in coming months. 

“DeKalb County has formed a powerful coalition that will turn the tide against food insecurity for our residents,” DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said in a news release. 

READ MORE: As pandemic lingers, fears grow that more families forced to go hungry

On Saturday, 20-pound boxes of Georgia grown fruits and vegetables and two-pound bags of pork sausage will be distributed at three different sites across the county. Officials said some 2,400 care baskets will be distributed.

Baskets will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 10 a.m. 

Distribution sites are as follows:

  • Buck Godfrey Stadium, 2817 Clifton Springs Road, Decatur
  • James R. Hallford Stadium, 3789 Memorial College Ave., Clarkston
  • New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, 6400 Woodrow Road, Stonecrest

Saturday’s event follows another similar one held last month. That event saw hundreds of cars lined up well before distribution started. Many had to be turned away. 

DeKalb County is buying the food through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and its Buy Georgia Grown program.  The county plans to continue offering distribution events through the end of the growing season.

State agriculture commissioner Gary Black joined a Tuesday morning meeting of the DeKalb County commission.

“We're joined at the hip on this,” he said, “and we will go as long as we're able to go to help your people.”

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 130,000 DeKalb County residents — about 18% of the population — were “food insecure,” according to the estimates from Feeding America, a national nonprofit with a network of more than 200 food banks. Food insecurity is a technical term used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that refers to a household that does not always have adequate access to healthy food.

Officials estimate that food insecurity has grown by about 40% in metro Atlanta since mid-March.

With that in mind, DeKalb also announced Tuesday a $600,000 partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. 

Officials said that, with the county’s funding, the ACFB will be able to increase distribution to 139 existing DeKalb food pantries by 30% over the next several months. “Mobile distribution capacity” will also be increased in areas that lack easy access to fresh food. 

ACFB president and CEO Kyle Waide said “well north of 250” mobile distributions could take place over the next year.  

The money for the food bank partnership and other food distribution events is coming from the $125 million in federal CARES Act funds that DeKalb County received in April.

The county has designated about $3 million to address food insecurity.

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