DeKalb to distribute 18 tons of food to struggling families Friday

Each package distributed Friday will include 20 pounds of fruits and vegetables and 10 pounds of frozen chicken, officials said. SPECIAL PHOTO / DEKALB COUNTY

DeKalb County plans to give away thousands of pounds of food to struggling residents later this week.

Distribution sites will open at 2 p.m. Friday at two locations: Buck Godfrey Stadium (2817 Clifton Springs Road near Decatur) and James Hallford Stadium (3789 Memorial College Ave. in Clarkston).

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond said a total of 1,200 packages will be distributed, each with a 20-pound box of fruits and vegetables and a 10-pound box of frozen chicken.

“It will make a huge dent in addressing food insecurity,” Thurmond said during a Tuesday morning county commission meeting.

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With many businesses eliminating jobs, furloughing employees, cutting hours or shutting down altogether, the coronavirus pandemic has left many families across metro Atlanta and the country in dire straits. The Atlanta Community Food Bank estimates that there's been a 30 to 40% increase in the number of people getting food from food drives and other emergency sources since mid-March.

Both of DeKalb’s food distribution sites are in areas with both high numbers of COVID-19 diagnoses and significant numbers of socioeconomically disadvantaged residents.

The food distribution events are sponsored by the county, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and a coalition of South Georgia farmers, Thurmond said. All of the food provided will be Georgia grown.

“We are honored to bridge the gap between families who are struggling to make ends meet in metro Atlanta and our hard working farmers in South Georgia,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said in a news release.

DeKalb County spent $40,000 to purchase the food that will be distributed Friday. Thurmond recently suggested spending around $3 million of the $125 million the county has received in federal coronavirus aid to address food insecurity.

Moving forward, similar distribution events could also be held monthly, Thurmond said.

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