The Albany Second Harvest food bank is the only facility in a 30-county area qualified to compete for votes in Wal-Mart’s $1 million competition. CEO Frank Richards, left, and Jim Case, Albany branch manager, urge everyone to make a daily habit of voting on Facebook.
ALBANY, Ga. — What would you do with $1 million?
Frank Richards, CEO of Second Harvest of South Georgia, says the local food bank would buy new vans and equipment, and fund a commercial kitchen to feed hungry kids.
The chance to do that could be right around the corner if enough area Facebook voters “get in the habit” of pushing a daily button.
Wal-Mart’s current hunger-fighting program will pay a $1 million top prize to the food bank with the most Facebook votes. Albany’s Second Harvest is the only food bank in a 30-county area qualified to win the contest, Richards said. Voting ends April 30.
In addition to the grand prize, 20 checks will be issued to other high-scoring food banks to the tune of $50,000 each.
“We’re asking everyone in the (30-county) region to vote for Albany, to help Albany receive these funds,” Richards said. “Last year they gave away a truckload of Tyson chicken that went to our facility in Thomasville, and everybody voted on that.”
Richards said he believes Wal-Mart selected the Albany facility as a qualified participant because of its high poverty rate and its need for food and services.
“Albany is one of our neediest communities in our service territory,” he said. “We run a program called Kids Cafe, and we feed 2,300 kids every night. They get a hot meal with a serving of milk.”
Richards said that although progress has been made, funds are just not available to fill the needs of every child. He’s looking to install a commercial kitchen in the Second Harvest warehouse on the east side of town.
“A few years ago we had one facility,” Richards said, “and now we have four. But right now there are 1,100 kids on the waiting list for Kids Cafe, and we can’t do it because we don’t have the resources. Once we do, we can start the program and get it flowing into the community.”
Richards said that contest rules allow each person to vote once every 24 hours. He’s asking everyone to make voting a daily habit and take the effort viral.
“It takes a matter of minutes,” Richards said. “If everyone would commit before going to work every morning — going to their Facebook page and voting for Albany — we could get thousands of votes every day for this project.”
According to Richards, voting entails going through individual facebook accounts to http://apps.facebook.com/walmartfighthunger/. From there, Richards said to bring up the main screen, select state, select Albany, then click the “vote and share” button.