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Middle Georgia Community Food Bank steps up service to feed hungry during COVID-19

Executive Director Kathy McCollum says that some families they're helping have never had to use a food bank before

MACON, Ga. — Dozens of food drives across Central Georgia have fed hundreds of people who have struggled to put food on the table since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Velda Royal says the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank is a "blessing."

She's had to rely on the food bank to make it through. 

Royal has used the food bank off and on for two years, but says it's gotten harder to make ends meet since the pandemic began. Once she's done paying her bills, there's little money left for food. 

"If it wasn't for the Middle Georgia Food Bank, we wouldn't know where our next meal was coming from," Royal said. 

Kathy McCollum, the food bank's executive director, says the number of people they're serving is growing every month.

"As restaurants closed, school closed, people simply couldn't go to work any more," McCollum said. "Depending on how they were being paid or not paid, that put more and different people in need."

McCollum says she's hearing more stories like the one she heard a couple Saturdays ago. She was helping people fill out forms to receive donations at a food distribution.

"A young man seemed very uncertain about everything and said, 'I'm really sorry, this is just the first time needing this help. I've worked for a temporary agency, and I'm not getting very many hours right now, and 'I can't afford the food I need','" McCollum said. 

Royal says she has seen the lines getting longer and longer.

"I've seen more people at the food bank than I've ever seen because it's rough out here with COVID-19. Every time you go to the store, you can't find nothing. Some people ain't working. Some people don't have income because the coronavirus," Royal said. "It's hard for Black, White, Hispanic, all of us. It's hard."

McCollum says some people who may not have known about the food insecurities in their communities know now. They've either personally struggled or seen their neighbors. 

"Now, it's much more difficult for all of us, no matter where we stand with our own resources. I think it's harder to be unaware of what's going on," McCollum said. 

McCollum says if you'd like to make a donation, you can do so on their website or mail a check to the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank.

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