ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany generated 4 million pounds of food for the year for Second Harvest of South Georgia, Jim Case, director of Second Harvest's Albany branch told members of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on Monday.
During the club's lunch meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn, Case provided an overview of the food bank, which maintains a warehouse at 3011 Clark Avenue.
According to Case, Second Harvest of South Georgia provides around 15 million pounds of food annually for more than 500 separate distribution agencies in a 30-county area.
"My job is to advocate for those agencies and to find resources," Case said. "The 10 counties served from here include Terrell, Early, Randolph, Calhoun and Baker. Those counties have no industry and counties like Dougherty and Tift are huge providers for them."
According to Case, much of the needed food contributions come from stores such as Sam's, Walmart, Publix and Target, all of which do "a great job" of providing for the food bank. In addition, Second Harvest is the area's largest U.S. Department of Agriculture provider.
"With the USDA comes guidelines," Case said. "Were affiliated with Feeding America and United Way as well. Both of them have guidelines. We're one of the few agencies anywhere that have internal audits. We open ourselves up to a lot of areas people are not aware of. We're proud to serve the community as a whole."
Case lost his left leg to a staph infection in 2009, he said, and after that his job with a major coffee company. The hard times that followed served to make him more attentive to the plight of those less fortunate.
"When I lost my job and was out of work for 27 months, I realized where I might be if I hadn't had good insurance, a good church family and a good personal family," Case said. "Not everybody has those catch-alls. Not everybody has those opportunities."
Case said Second Harvest stocks disaster supplies as well as food, and recently shipped around 200,000 pounds of products -- including bleach, MRE's, blankets and water -- to victims of Super Storm Sandy in the Northeast.
Among projects for the future, the long-planned Kid's Cafe is scheduled for readiness in late January, Case said, and will begin serving 1,035 children in Albany, Camilla, Pelham, Americus and Plains a hot meal with milk each day after school.
"Sometimes that's the only meal they receive after they get home," Case said.
In addition, a project with the service group Citizens of Georgia Power is set to fill 2,400 22-pound food boxes for distribution to the hungry. According to Case, each box will feed a family of four for a week.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Case was given a $500 donation from the Kiwanis fund for the Second Harvest campaign against hunger in Southwest Georgia.