By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published July 20, 2016
ATLANTA—With just a few weeks left in the summer season, the food pantries of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia are running low on non-perishable items for families in need.
Area food banks often have shortages during the summer.
Many children of the clients served by SVdP Georgia participate in free and reduced cost breakfast and lunch programs at public schools. These programs are suspended in the summertime.
Melissa Winkler, community relations’ manager for SVdP Georgia, said the loss of two daily meals places an incredible strain on families who are already struggling.
“This leads to an increase in the use of SVdP Georgia’s food pantries,” said Winkler. “This struggle gets even more complicated as the donations decrease during the summer months. As people go on vacation, we have fewer food drives and fewer individuals dropping off food.”
According to SVdP, one in four Georgia children lives in a “food insecure” home, not knowing when the next meal is coming.
“Any and all food donations are greatly appreciated and can go a long way in helping families in need,” said Winkler.
What to donate?
The most needed items include canned fruits, pasta sauces, cereals, peanut butter, jelly, items with protein such as canned tuna or chicken, and canned pastas with meat.
Kitchen and household cleaning items are also accepted. Volunteers compile snack bags for homeless clients using pudding cups, tuna pouches, packaged snack crackers and bottled water.
A complete list of the most commonly used items can be found on the SVdP website at www.svdpgeorgia.org/food-drives/.
Where to donate?
The SVdP Council Office, 2050-C Chamblee Tucker Road in Atlanta, is a central distribution point for all of the organization’s pantries. Donors may drop off items at this location or at any family support center.
The Chamblee location houses the largest SVdP Client Choice Food Pantry. At Client Choice pantries, individuals select food items most useful to their families. This model maintains the dignity of each person and reduces waste from unwanted food.
In addition to the Chamblee center, pantries are located at the Family Support Centers in Dallas, Stone Mountain, and Lakewood in Atlanta. These centers provide benefits screenings and computer lab access.
SVdP encourages parish groups and individuals to host food collection drives.
There are 73 conferences in the Georgia Council of St. Vincent de Paul. Many of the conference pantries are also experiencing food shortages.
Last year, SVdP Georgia served more than 126,000 people with nearly $15 million in tangible and in-kind resources.