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The Atlanta Community Food Bank today announced a $50,000 grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation to fund its School Pantry Program, a child hunger initiative that helps to make sure low-income families have a readily accessible source of healthy and nutritious food to prepare at home. Employees from local branches presented the check and volunteered at the Food Bank as part of Morgan Stanley’s “Feeding Kids Around the Clock” initiative, a full day of activities across the globe to help the fight against childhood hunger

The Foundation is awarding a total of $750,000 in grants this month to food banks across the country. Employees from the firm are also volunteering today in 40 different locations, including Atlanta, to pack and sort food in preparation for the summer, when four out of five children who typically received reduced and free lunches through schools, lose that access to nutrition. Through its partnership with Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 food banks, the Foundation has given more than $21 million to help launch, expand and sustain critical childhood feeding programs including summer feeding programs.

“We are thrilled to receive this important grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation in support of our efforts to deliver more nutritious meals to children and families in Atlanta,” said Atlanta Community Food Bank President and CEO, Kyle Waide. “Morgan Stanley and its employees provide vital support for our organization by generous contributions like this and many hours volunteering.”

“We are honored to be able to help the Atlanta Community Food Bank in its important fight against child hunger,” said Morgan Stanley Complex Manager Michael Outlaw. “We are delighted to extend our support through this grant and provide even more children with the foods they need to learn, grow and thrive.” “Our Atlanta employees are proud to join their Morgan Stanley colleagues across the world in the ‘Feeding Kids Around the Clock’ activities,” said Morgan Stanley Complex Manager Walter Jameson.

“Grants like this from Morgan Stanley make a vital difference in our efforts to provide children with the nutritious meals they need every day,” said Andy Wilson, Chief Development Officer at Feeding America. “More than 13 million children in the United States live at risk of hunger. Together, we can solve hunger and ensure that children have the fuel they need to grow healthy and strong.”

Morgan Stanley employees were scheduled to participate in “Feeding Kids Around The Clock” events in more than 40 locations in the United States

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Backpack programs help schoolkids combat hunger on weekends

Hunger is a daily fact of life for many Georgia school-age children. While the beginning of the school year finds some groups filling backpacks with school supplies, others work from September to May filling backpacks and sacks with food.
“In this day and age, in our country, it’s just plain wrong that there are people who are food insecure, that there are children who might not eat between lunch at school on Friday and breakfast at school on Monday,” says Judy Campbell, part of the Snax Sax program at Embry Hills United Methodist Church in DeKalb County.
There are many groups organizing volunteers to do this work all across metro Atlanta. Hunger is not in pockets in our community. It is everywhere.
The programs share a basic structure. Each Wednesday, volunteers gather to put together backpacks or bags of food. On Thursdays, the food is delivered to schools, and on Fridays, teachers distribute the bags to the children. In every case, schools are responsible for choosing the students to participate in the programs, and parents provide consent.

Teachers see hunger every day. Kathy Keeton of Sandy Springs United Methodist Church has retired from teaching, but she remembers the need. “I would hear firsthand from social workers who made home visits and would open the refrigerator to find only beer or soft drinks. I would see the kids come to school and know that the breakfast and lunch they got there were probably the only decent meals they were getting.”
Of course, it’s not only teachers who see the need. Returning to the States after working in Africa, Veronica Mount started College Park-based Land of Promise and its Nourish the Need program. “Over there, you can see hunger. Here, in most circumstances, hunger is invisible,” Mount says.
Starting with a shoestring budget, she began attending community meetings and explaining that there were hungry children all around. Today Nourish the Need serves children in 14 schools in both the south and north ends of Fulton County. Last year, they provided bags of food for 348 children, from kindergartners to high schoolers. When a child is identified by his or her school, Mount will find out if the family has other children who might also need food. “It’s important to us to make sure we’re feeding all the children in the family.”
Jacqueline Beard-Cathey, coordinator of social work services for Fulton County Schools, says, “We are grateful for the help these organizations provide. Our parents are stretching their funds as best they can, and they, too, are grateful for the food support. There are pockets of economic need everywhere in our county.”

Last year, the backpack program at Sandy Springs United Methodist Church served 200 students at three schools, including Riverwood High School. Bruce Donnelly is executive director of the program and a recent retiree from the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “Because of what I know from my years of work at the food bank, I wanted to be sure we put some really healthy food in the packs, enough to serve a whole family at least one meal. Maybe they have brothers or sisters or a single mom. We always include fresh fruit, and we go to the food bank for more staple items such as stews, soups and individual servings of cereal.”
Maurice Richardson is one of Sandy Springs UMC’s steadfast volunteers. “It takes us about an hour. We lay all the food out on long tables, and then we walk along putting each item in the sack. We come together because we enjoy doing something for needy kids and needy families.”
Kids return their backpacks to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Donnelly goes around to pick them up and start the process of packing all over again.
Along with Christie Maloch, LeyAnna Messick manages the Snax Sax for Kids program at Embry Hills United Methodist Church. Last school year, they served 361 children a week, delivering 11,559 bags between September and May. “We try to send healthy food. We make sure they get a piece of fresh fruit and some juice,” Messick says.
Last year, the church tested the idea of putting fresh vegetables in the bags along with a simple recipe. The vegetables came from the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The response was good, so they hope to do more of that this year.

On Wednesdays, a dedicated group of packers show up at the church. This year, they added a Facebook page for the program, and that brought in more community help such as a Girl Scout troop from Tucker and students from Lakeside, Marist and St. Pius high schools. Children have taken on the bags as an art project, decorating them with colorful art and stickers.
Wayne Reid helps out each week. “The food is in bins and packers go down the line taking an item from each bin to fill a bag. Then the bags are stapled and put into crates for delivery to the schools.” He sees the short-term benefit of feeding children, but hopes there’s a long-term benefit as well. “Ideally, when they’re older, they will recall what receiving those bags of food meant to them, and that might inspire them to do something for others.”
In 2010, Scarlett Rigsby of Nothing but the Truth met with a counselor at a Gwinnett County Title I school to see if there was a need for weekend meals. Indeed there was. “We started our weekend food ministry with one school and 15 students. Today we serve 36 schools and almost 800 kids every week, and that includes schools in Gwinnett, Clayton and Barrow counties, but it’s just the tip of the need.”
The food they pack into plastic grocery-type bags is food that children can fix for themselves. School counselors put the bags into the children’s own backpacks. “It’s more discreet and provides some anonymity for the kids,” Rigsby says.

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Alpharetta salutes Smoltz for community devotion
Hall of Famer honored for civic contributions

John Smoltz is well known as one of the greatest baseball pitchers to ever wear a tomahawk across his chest, but his extraordinary civic contributions to his adopted hometown of Alpharetta often go unrecognized.
But that ended Aug. 25 at a little ceremony at Avalon’s Oak Restaurant where the stretch of Old Milton Parkway from Ga. 400 to Ga. 9 was renamed John Smoltz Highway for the civic and humanitarian work he has done for the community.
Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brandon Beach presided over the presentation of a green city street sign emblazoned “John Smoltz Highway.” While no one’s addresses will be changed along that stretch of highway – the U.S. Postal Service gets a little touchy about that – Beach told the Smoltz family, friends and well-wishers that from this time forward, 2.1 miles of the road is the Johns Smoltz Highway.
“John has the ability to galvanize the community to get behind projects. One of the traits that put him in the Hall of Fame is tremendous faculties of focus and concentration,” Beach said.
Beach said he had the opportunity to visit the Braves clubhouse before a game and came across Smoltz lying in what Beach described as a cross between a cocoon and a sleeping bag.
“That contraption John was in was a hyperbaric chamber where he could relax before he pitched. Even when he was relaxing, John was focused,” Beach said.
Smoltz is well known for his philanthropy through the John and Dyan Smoltz Foundation. He has worked with the Atlanta Community Food Bank since 1992. Not only has he helped serve Thanksgiving dinners for the Food Bank as an active player, he served as the Food Bank’s spokesman for “National Hunger Awareness Day.”
He also created the Strike Out Hunger Foundation which raised $300,000 in cash for food. In addition Smoltz pledged $100 per strikeout he recorded.
That was no small pledge considering Smoltz notched 3,011 Ks in his career.
In 2005 Smoltz was given Major League Baseball’s prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”
For many years Smoltz gave his time and his efforts to the Alpharetta Police Athletic League serving on its board of directors.
However, Smoltz is best known around North Fulton for his involvement with faith-based Kings Ridge Christian School. He was on the school’s original board of directors and helped raise millions for construction of Kings Ridge and serves as KRCS chairman emeritus.
From its beginnings in a rehabbed grocery store, the school now boasts a $50 million campus on 70 acres in Alpharetta that includes lower, middle and high school buildings and a performing arts center and athletics campus.
At the ceremony, Therrell “Sonny” Murphy said the most salient part of Smoltz is that “he never, ever quits.”
Murphy should know. He was an original board member and chairman of Kings Ridge School along with Smoltz.
“John has been paving roads for Christ for a long time,” Murphy said. “He is an unapologetic Christian man.”
It was Smoltz who got Beach involved with Kings Ridge and today is on the KRCS board.
“I met John at a Starbucks one day, and the passion he shared for the school with me, he convinced me to become a board member. And today I take that passion with me to the Senate,” Beach said.
Smoltz said he owes a lot to his father.
“I learned to fight hard for what you believe in and not compromise,” he said.
“Kings Ridge was something I never doubted. But I never thought it would turn out as well as it did,” he said.
He said at 50 he still has mountains to conquer. He has his eye on making the senior golf tour, better known as the Senior Tour of Champions.
That is the attitude that Smoltz has brought to every aspect of his life. Certainly there was no better feeling for a manager who was looking at game 7 of the World Series to know that he was handing the ball to John Smoltz.
Today, he has a new career as a top television baseball announcer winning rave reviews for his work in last year’s World Series. That’s another world conquered.
But perhaps the best news that day came when Smoltzie said he and his family plan to stay in Alpharetta.,108145

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Today, Walmart announced that Atlanta residents generated a total of $320,723 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank to help fight hunger across metro Atlanta and north Georgia. Walmart’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign encouraged people across the nation to take action against hunger and help families in need through simple acts of support online, in-store purchases and donations. Nationwide, the campaign raised more than $19.8 million to support Feeding America and its nationwide network of food banks.

Working with Discover card and five suppliers, Campbell Soup Company, General Mills, Kellogg Company, The Kraft Heinz Company and PepsiCo – the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign called on the public to take action and help fight hunger from April 17 – May 15, 2017 by sharing campaign messages via social media, donating to local Feeding America food banks in-store at the Walmart register or purchasing select products that triggered a donation.

According to the USDA, one in eight Americans, including 13 million children, currently struggle with hunger, and the problem affects every community across the United States. Here in metro Atlanta and north Georgia, 841,930 1 people face hunger.

“We thank all those who took part in the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign and helped provide meals for individuals who are in need within our own community,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. "We are grateful for the support of this initiative during the summer, when children who receive free and reduced meals at school are out on summer break. We’re delighted with this year’s campaign results, and the funds we receive will help us meet the meal gap for the 1 in 4 children in Georgia who face hunger each day."

“We take great pride in giving back to local communities to make sure that families have access to healthy, affordable and nutritious food,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “Hunger is an issue in every community, but when we all unite, we can make a measurable impact. We’re grateful to everyone around the country who joined us in supporting Feeding America and its nationwide network of food banks.” The ‘’Fight Hunger. Spark Change.’’ campaign is part of Walmart’s larger commitment to provide meals to those in need, helping ensure every family has access to affordable, nutritious and sustainably-grown food. In October 2014, Walmart announced a commitment to create a more sustainable food system, with a focus on improving the affordability of food by lowering the “true cost” of food for both customers and the environment, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier, and improving the safety and transparency of the food chain. This commitment includes a goal of providing four billion meals to those in need in the U.S. by 2020.

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7 ways to help fight hunger in Atlanta

In Atlanta 80,600 people are served each week by programs supported by the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). The faces of hunger in Atlanta might not be who you thin-- military veterans, the working poor, immigrants, refugees, the elderly.

Food insecurity in Atlanta is a big problem but there are many small, even fun, ways you can give to the community that make a big difference.

Attend a special event. Throughout the year, hunger-fighting organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank and MUST Ministries host fun events to raise money for their cause.

On August 21, the ACFB hosts their annual Can Can Ball; September 9 is the Tangerine Tango Fashion Show at Bloomingdale's; Canstruction will set up in November. Be on the lookout for the annual Hunger Walk/Run next March.

MUST Ministries is hosting their annual MUST Charity Golf Tournament on September 21 at Pinetree Country Club.

Learn how to cook. It's true! You can learn how to cook special dishes from some of Atlanta's best chefs and all the money raised goes toward ACFB programs. Each month's Simple Abundance class has a different theme and chef. Upcoming events include classes from chef Kevin Gillespie from Gunshow and Revival, and Linda Harrell of Cibo e Beve.

Show off your organization skills. Local food pantries are always looking for individuals and groups to help sort food. The ACFB has regularly scheduled work days in their Product Rescue Center and individuals are invited to help out at their community gardens.

Participate in Hunger Action Month. This September, ACFB is encouraging Atlantans to help spread the word about hunger in the community with a month of events and activities that can easily take place at an office, church or around a dinner table. Atlantic Station is planning a month's worth of family-friendly activities to coincide with Hunger Action Month.

Don't throw away your unused formula. The Salvation Army, MUST Ministries and ACFB all accept unopened packages of baby formula that have not expired. Many local charitable organizations also accept diaper donations.

Spend a day at work. Instead of heading to the office, help your company organize a community volunteer day to work with your local food bank to help others. From stacking and storage to serving and sorting, there's always something to be done.

Donate. If you find it hard to have enough hours in your day to donate time at the ACFB or one of the region's other food banks, your monetary donation can help multiple families. Each $1 donated translates into $9 worth of groceries for an individual or family in need.


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Free compost party in Atlanta

The power of good soil can make the difference between a bumper crop of tomatoes and squash or the bumper crop of frustration comes with a lackluster veggie garden.

But learning how to compost is not only a good idea for a workshop, it’s also a reason to party.

That’s the idea behind the free “Healthy Soil, Healthy Community Festival,” an Atlanta event on Saturday Aug. 29 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. which will mix mini-compost classes with live music, meet fellow gardeners and enjoy freshly prepared food from local chefs.
free “Healthy Soil, Healthy Community Festival,” an Atlanta event on Saturday August 29 which will mix mini-compost classes with live music, along with garden toursmeet fellow gardeners and enjoy and freshly prepared food from local chefs.

“This event is a fantastic opportunity for beginning gardeners as well as experienced growers to learn something about soil health and to have a really fun evening,” said Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator for UGA Extension. The event will take place at Truly Living Well-Wheat Street Gardens, 75 Hilliard Street Northeast, Atlanta.

You can register at the following site (or just show up).

The workshop is part of the “Healthy Soil, Healthy Community Initiative” to help Atlanta’s community gardens adopt better composting practices to improve metro Atlanta’s soil. The collaborative partners in this project include the following: the Food Well Alliance (in collaboration with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension), Atlanta Community Food Bank’s Community Gardens project, Terra Nova Compost Cooperative, Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, Global Growers Network, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and Park Pride.
Compost event hopes to teach, inspire people how to make rich soil.

Keep an eye out for more workshops running through the end of October and will be held at several locations around Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. A good way to keep up-to-date is by checking the web site

Improving soil practices is an opportunity to decrease plant pests and diseases, but gardeners often neglect composting, which is a much-needed step to improving soil, she said.

“[Gardeners] think it’s intimidating, so they shy away from it,” Griffin said. “They see the big bins; they know they have to turn it, and they know they need a mix of nitrogen and carbon sources. It just seems like too much … but once they take a basic class and see that it’s not as difficult as they thought, they are eager to try it.”

In addition to offering hands-on training, the Healthy Soil, Healthy Community workshop series will also shine a light on the ecosystem that is thriving underneath everyone’s feet. Soil is a living system that includes minerals, organic matter microbes, fungi, worms and more which make food production possible, she said.

For more information about UGA Extension’s community and school garden outreach program, visit


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Hunger in America Study 2014

Feeding America’s Hunger in America 2014 report is the largest, most comprehensive analysis of charitable food assistance in America.

Food banks from all over the country, including Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB), participated in the study to learn more about the clients we serve and the need in our community.

The new report shows that 1 in 7.5 people, or an estimated 755,400 people, in metro Atlanta and north Georgia turn to food pantries and meal service programs to feed themselves and their families each year. This includes more than 164,000 children and more than 64,000 seniors.

Each year, 1 in 7 Americans turn to Feeding America network food banks for help. Each week, the Feeding America network serves 5.4 million individuals. ACFB has been a member of the Feeding America network since 1979.

For the Atlanta Community Food Bank service area, the report shows that 80,600 people are served each week by programs supported through ACFB, and that those clients turn to ACFB partner programs and pantries for help more than 6.1 million times over the course of the year. This means clients are visiting ACFB network programs an average of 8 times a year.

The new study documents household demographics and offers a snapshot of the people served by ACFB – their circumstances, the challenges they face and the choices they are forced to make living on extremely limited household incomes.

Among the findings – the report reveals very telling facts about the employment and income situations of our clients:
56% of client households report monthly incomes of less than $1000.
28% of respondents have faced foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.
Among all households served by Atlanta Community Food Bank agencies and programs, 59% have at least one member who has been employed in the past year.
The report also goes into detail about some of the tough choices our clients face each month when it comes to deciding what to pay for when you have limited means. Some examples of what we call “spending trade-offs” include:
76% report choosing between paying for food and paying for utilities.
43% of these households are making the choice every month.
82% report making choices between paying for food and paying for transportation.
46% of these households are making the choice every month.
73% report choosing between paying for food and paying for medicine/medical care.
36% of these households are making the choice every month.
62% report choosing between paying for food and paying for housing.
35% of these households are making the choice every month.
39% report choosing between paying for food and paying for education expenses.
22% are making the choice every month.
Our clients are also forced to make tough choices about the food that they eat. Subsequently, many of them suffer from chronic health conditions. For example:
86% of households report purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy food because they could not afford healthier options.
73% of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care.
40% of households include a member with diabetes.

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The James M. Cox Foundation Announces $1.5 Million Grant To Families First

In support of National Foster Care Awareness Month, the James M. Cox Foundation announced a $1.5 million grant to Families First. The grant supports the organization's "Family Matters" campaign to fund the purchase and renovation of a new Resource Center on Atlanta's Westside.

"Families First provides vital community support by connecting, strengthening and sustaining families," said Marybeth Leamer, Cox Enterprises' executive vice president of human resources and administration and Families First board member. "This grant will help the organization expand its core services through the new Resource Center. It will be conveniently located near a MARTA train station to provide accessibility to new and existing clients."
Families First is Georgia's largest, nonprofit, family-service agency and impacts more than 37,000 children and adults each year. The organization creates thriving, self-sufficient families and communities across the state that share a collective commitment and responsibility to children's success. The organization provides services such as family and individual counseling, parenting classes, supportive housing for homeless families and young mothers and adoption services.

"This year marks Families First's 125th Anniversary of impacting lives around metro Atlanta," said Families First Chief Executive Officer Kim Anderson. "Our current 'Family Matters' capital campaign is allowing us to relocate to Atlanta's Westside. Families First will partner and engage with the area, which has been desirous to make sustainable change that supports the revitalization of family and community. This campaign, coupled with the generous grant from the James M. Cox Foundation, will allow us to serve even more members of our community through services such as adoption, foster care, counseling and transitional housing. Without the James M. Cox Foundation and our other amazing partnerships, our move and further impact wouldn't be possible."
Cox Enterprises is a longtime supporter of Families First and the organization's annual Dining for a Difference event.

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Fifth Third Bank collects more than 1 ton of food for families

Fifth Third Bank, which has locations in the Marietta and Kennesaw areas, recently held its annual Strike Out Hunger! campaign aimed at feeding Atlanta and Augusta-area families in need.

Now in its second year, the two-week partnership with the Atlanta Braves and Augusta GreenJackets baseball teams saw more than 5,250 non-perishable food item donations. Those that made a donation were provided game tickets to the Atlanta Braves or the Augusta GreenJackets, courtesy of Fifth Third Bank.

“We’re proud of our community and their generous participation in our annual Strike Out Hunger! food drive,” said Hal Clemmer, president of Fifth Third Bank. “With the help of our area partners — the Atlanta Braves, Augusta GreenJackets, Atlanta Community Food Bank and Golden Harvest Food Bank — we are able to help feed thousands of families in our local communities who otherwise would go hungry.”

The food drive ran April 13 to May 1, coming to a close near Fifth Third’s annual “Fifth Third Day” celebration. For more than 20 years, the bank has used its 5/3 calendar holiday to recognize the contribution of its employees, thank its customers and support communities where it operates. After the food drive Fifth Third delivered all donations, along with a corporate donation of 1,590 meals, to both the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Golden Harvest Food Bank.

In the week leading up to “Fifth Third Day”, employees within the Georgia affiliate gave their time and energy to sort over 5,300 meals at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, feed over 300 homeless men lunch and dinner at the Atlanta Union Mission, served meals to nearly 400 families at the Collins United Methodist Church and packed weekend meals for over 1,000 students in need for the Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta. With the food drive, corporate donation and volunteer efforts combined, over 14,000 families in need will have received assistance.

“More than 18 percent of Georgians struggle to put food on their tables, and the donated items will directly help people here in our own backyards,” said Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “Each year, we distribute more than 50 million pounds of food to help feed the food insecure through our network of more than 600 partner agencies throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia. We are humbled that Fifth Third Bank has once again focused on contributing to our efforts to fight hunger and provide hope.”


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Taylor English Tops Atlanta Food Bank's Online Fundraisers

When the fourth annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy came to a close Friday night, the Atlanta firm Taylor English Duma had raised the most money online—$11,543—for the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Taylor English surpassed Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, which raised $10,950, and Atlanta criminal defense and entertainment lawyer Joe S. Habachy, who raised $9,530, to top the Atlanta food bank's online fundraising leader board.

Those results come from the online competition among law offices within the service area of the Atlanta food bank, which covers 29 counties in metro Atlanta and north Georgia. Other firms are raising money for the food bank that serves their areas, but only the Atlanta food bank has a system that allows competing firms to see totals for online contributions. Firms in the Atlanta food bank's service area raised $129,267 online.

(Editor's note: Our previous stories covering the Legal Food Frenzy mistakenly reported that the online totals covered all of the competitors in the statewide contest. That is not the case, and we apologize for the oversight.)

Firms have until the end of this week to make sure their groceries and checks are delivered to their respective food banks, and complete results are expected to be announced on May 19. Awards will be given in various categories, but the top prize is based on pounds collected per employee, with each dollar collected counting as four pounds of food.

The event is sponsored by the office of Attorney General Sam Olens, the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Food Bank Association. According to Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft, firms continued to sign up for the competition through Friday, bringing the total participating organizations to more than 280.

In an email exchange with the Daily Report, she noted, "The real winners are the food banks and the families they serve over summer."

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