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New kitchen to feed more hungry kids

Frank Richards, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia, said the new commercial kitchen to be installed at the Albany branch will be capable of making up to 5,000 meals every four hours. Completion of the facility is expected in September.

Frank Richards, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia, said the new commercial kitchen to be installed at the Albany branch will be capable of making up to 5,000 meals every four hours. Completion of the facility is expected in September.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia, Albany Branch is adding a new kitchen that, when fully installed, will have the capacity to create up to 5,000 simple but nutritious meals every four hours, according to Second Harvest CEO Frank Richards.

Currently, the food bank's meals for children program, Kids Cafe, cooks in the kitchen of a local church. That arrangement limits output to around 1,400 meals during the summer and 650 evening meals during the school year, Richards said.

By the end of the year, the new $200,000 commercial kitchen should allow the food bank to more than double that output. In fact, meal-making capability could top out at close to 5,000 daily meals during the school year.

According to Richards, IQF's, or instant quick food meals like frozen hot dogs, hamburger patties or chicken nuggets, will be added to fresh fruit or vegetables and milk.

"They're frozen," Richards said. "All we have to do is sheet them, put them in the ovens, heat them, bring them to temperature and ship them on our trucks."

Second Harvest delivers its hot meals to eight centers within a nine-county area, Richards said, including Boys & Girls Clubs and some schools. With news of the upcoming commercial kitchen, 10 or more communities in Southwest Georgia have expressed interest in the program, which Richards says is clearly in the national interest.

"A lot of people forget that one of the reasons for food stamps is that people were showing up for military service so malnourished they couldn't serve," Richards said. "So (the government) tried to get individuals back to a healthy state so they could serve their country. The ultimate goal in our country is to raise healthy and productive children who can serve in times of need."

Richards also said that eating habits are formed at a very young age, and as a nation we struggle with issues such as obesity and diabetes that place a financial burden on our indigent health care system.

"If families are not taught to provide proper types of food for their families, such as fresh vegetables and proteins, the kids are going to grow up unhealthy," Richards said.

According to Richards, the new farm bill, being debated now in Congress, contains proposed reductions in food stamps. If that should happen, more people will turn to charitable food sources such at The Lord's Pantry and others.

"It would be nice today if all similar federal programs were reduced and people could just walk into an employment situation. But that's not going to happen," Richards said. "In Georgia, you have a 9.8 percent unemployment rate. You have a 50-plus percent poverty rate in some area with children and adults."

Richards said the mission of organizations such as Second Harvest is made possible by help from the city of Albany and the community at large, as well as assistance from corporate sponsors. With about $75,000 still needed to help equip the kitchen, the organization is open to further help. Those who would like to volunteer at Food Bank of South Georgia/Albany or make a donation can contact the organization at (229) 244-2678 or visit the www.feedingsga.org website.

Comments

MRKIA 2 years, 4 months ago

I'VE YET TO FIND MANY HUNGRY KIDS AROUND THERS PARTS. ALL THE ONES I SEE NEED TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT. ALONG WITH THEIR MAMAS.

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whattheheck 2 years, 4 months ago

"A lot of people forget that one of the reasons for food stamps is that people were showing up for military service so malnourished they couldn't serve," Richards said. "So (the government) tried to get individuals back to a healthy state so they could serve their country. The ultimate goal in our country is to raise healthy and productive children who can serve in times of need."

Sorry, I don't believe this was anything close to one of the reasons for food stamps. Can we have a reference on this one?

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fjrg 2 years, 3 months ago

FNS History is on the WEB at USDA: May 1941: Nutrition Council for Defense recommended extending FSP, justifying it as a "vital cog" in the National Defense Plan. Young men showing up of service during this time period we unable to complete basic training or pass a physical to being malnourished.

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Jacob 2 years, 3 months ago

With 80% of the kids in albany getting food stamps, why is this neccessary? Where are their parents and why aren't they preparing meals at home with their free money?

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agirl_25 2 years, 3 months ago

Go to the grocery store and see what they are buying with the food stamps. It will amaze you and anger the hell outta you at the same time. They are NOT buying basic staples to make meals at home - - too easy - - but are loading the carts up with piles of junk to heat quickly. They can have it ready for the kids to eat when they want and they can then send little Junior down to the nearest chicken shack to buy Mama a super sized box of dark meat with biscuits and 2 sides. Oh and let's not forget the large Coke that comes with it. For the $5.98+ they threw away on the chicken box they could have bought some wings, okra, taters for fries, a small bag of self rising flour and made their own chicken box..and fed a lot more than one.....ya think?

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 3 months ago

I always enjoy when they drive up in their BMWs full of "hungry kids" including theirs, their sister's, their neighbors.

How much of this do we have around this town and STILL there are more and more and more "hungry kids" each and every year.

You're putting a tiny band-aid on a sucking chest wound.

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howsad 2 years, 3 months ago

So sad...that I applaud the enthusiasm of Mr Richards...yet I am saddened that we continue to perpetuate to the "entitlement society" that we will take care of their every need...or in most cases...lazy and greedy desire. Mr Richards' rationale that he is currently providing meals so that we will have "healthy and productive children" to serve our military is utter foolishness. The "frozen hot dogs, hamburger patties and chicken nuggets" are a far cry from providing healthy food and surely aren't teaching families what the proper types of foods are for healthy families. Where does it end?

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agirl_25 2 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't end...the circle cannot be broken......as long as we allow it to continue the way it is it is never going to change. I can remember years ago as a home health nurse trying to teach nutrition to poor families....to teach them how to use their food stamps and government commodities to make healthy meals. I would talk until I was blue in the face and hope that when I came back to their house the next week and did a diet recall they would have at least one or two meals that would reflect they had at least listened to something I said. FAT CHANCE. The government cheese, powdered milk, peanut butter and other things they found unpleasant were thrown to the hogs or traded to the owner of the local Pac 'n Sac along with their food stamps. So much for the food program. I too applaud Mr. Richards... I guess the food he serves is better than no food at all. Still, if the families could be taught but they are too lazy and all they can think is gimme.... gimme.... gimme........

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