According toFive Loaves Two FishchairmanBrennan MacDowell, the food pantry has historically received $45,000 per year from the Griffin-Spalding County Hospital Authority to fund its operations. That amount was reduced to $30,000 for the current year, and there will be no funding at all in 2013, MacDowell said.
Making matters worse, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, from which Five Loaves Two Fish buys food at a significantly discounted rate throughout the year, has informed the local food pantry that it cannot provide food during the holiday season.
It’s the holiday season in particular — Thanksgiving and Christmas — that raises concerns, because the demand for food it up dramatically during that time. In fact, while the food pantry gives out about 50 bags of food to Spalding County residents on a regular day, this number goes up to 150 bags of food per day during the holidays.
“There’s a great need here in Spalding County,” said MacDowell, adding that at the rate of 50 bags of food per day, Five Loaves Two Fish will soon be running out of food. “Twenty days is what we’ve got left.”
A number of local organizations and individuals have already held can drives to support the food pantry, and more are on their way.
On Nov. 19, the Chick-fil-A of Griffin Dwarf House on West Taylor Street and Truett’s Grill on North Expressway will give out free food in exchange for can donations and other non-perishable food.
Between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. that day, both locations will give customers a free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit for every two cans donated — with a limit of two free biscuits per customer. Between 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., customers can receive a free Chick-fil-A sandwich for every four cans they bring in — again limited to two free sandwiches per customer.
In addition, MacDowell and others are currently working on a proposal for a round-up program. That program would have local retailers ask their customers if they would like to round up their total to the next even dollar amount, with the difference going directly to Five Loaves Two Fish.
Still, members of the community are asked to donate both non-perishable food - including rice, peanut butter and cereal — and money to the food pantry to allow it to continue to operate. While food can be taken directly to the pantry, checks may be made out to Five Loaves Two Fish Food Pantry, Attn.: Harry Kierbow, 409 N. 10th St., Griffin GA 30223.
“The economic times are what they are, (but) we can’t let our community down,” said Amy Dunham, who will be taking over as chair of Five Loaves Two Fish in 2013. “We can’t let these families go hungry.”