Additional funding is headed to Georgia food banks across all 159 counties in hopes of distributing protein, fruit, and vegetables to needy families and children.
The Georgia Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) made the announcement recently, saying that $11.9 million in supplemental Temporarily Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will help some of the most vulnerable families across the state.
Specifically, the Georgia Nutrition Assistance Program (GNAP) will share funds with Georgia’s eight Feeding America Food Banks through a network of more than 2,400 nonprofits.
Food banks in Georgia and across the country have been hit hard by the pandemic. Reports indicate that most have seen a 50% increase in demand for food since the pandemic started in March of 2020. 40% of the clients at the food banks are seeking ’emergency food assistance’ for the first time. Remote learning has exacerbated the impacts, which has demonstrated a need to reallocate resources and find ways to make sure food is delivered to children at home, DFCS said.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact on Georgia’s families and children has been profound. With so many facing food insecurity across the state, we are pleased to be able to provide this additional assistance through our partnership with Georgia’s food banks,” said Georgia DFCS Division Director Tom Rawlings.
“Throughout our fight with COVID-19, Georgia’s food banks and the nonprofit community have done heroic work to ensure families are cared for and keep food on the table,” said Gov. Brian Kemp. “These additional funds will strengthen those efforts and ensure we fulfill our sacred duty of caring for our children and fellow Georgians. My sincere thanks to Director Rawlings and the team at the Georgia Food Bank Association for all they continue to do to support and protect our most vulnerable.”
Feeding America estimates that child food insecurity in Georgia increased from 16.1% in 2018 to 22% due to COVID. These eight food banks have increased their distribution from 2.4 million meals per week to 4.4 million meals per week due to the economic impact of the COVID pandemic.
“Childhood hunger in Georgia increased 39% due to COVID-related job losses and closures, so these targeted funds will provide much needed protein, fruits and vegetables for programs that feed children and struggling families statewide,” said Danah Craft, executive director of the Georgia Food Bank Association. “We are grateful to Gov. Kemp for this additional funding to help us help others through this emergency.”
This move comes as part of an ongoing response to the pandemic and its effects on Georgia’s communities. It is estimated that 475,000 additional families will benefit from the distribution of these supplemental funds. DFCS is committed to working with local and federal partners to meet the needs of this vulnerable population.