Rotary District 6900, in partnership with Rotary District 6910, was given a huge opportunity to help alleviate food insecurity for counties with a designated Federal Opportunity Zone. The Rotary Club of Americus was able to capitalize on the opportunity and collaborate with Harvest of Hope Food Pantry to distribute fresh food boxes as part of the USDA Farmers-to-Families Food Box project. This project provided an entire truckload of refrigerated food boxes delivered under the direction of a Rotary Club at no cost, alleviating any financial burden to the food pantry. The truckload included 1,156 boxes or the equivalent of 23,000 meals.
The massive food distribution event was held in the parking lot of First Baptist Church on Thursday, October 22, from 9am-2pm, in which residents of Sumter County could drive through and pick up food and other items, as well as the boxes of refrigerated food procured by Rotary. Each of the 30-pound boxes included over 5 pounds of meat, 12 pounds of produce, over pounds of dairy and 1 gallon of milk. Additionally, Harvest of Hope provided bags containing chicken thighs, small hams, orange juice, toilet paper, and a variety of additional items for families.
Nearly 70 volunteers were on site to provide assistance, logging a cumulative total of 216 hours. In addition to Americus Rotarians, GSW athletes and nursing students, employees from The Staffing People, First Baptist Church, and community volunteers were on hand to ensure each family was served. The Rotary Club of Americus would like to thank Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, First Baptist Church, Georgia Cold Storage, Minor Farms, Steve Stanfield, and Jerry Dill for their help in getting food into the hands of Sumter County families.