Feeding the Valley to open food bank in LaGrange

Steena Hymes Staff writer

January 9, 2014

A Columbus food bank providing resources to local organizations is opening a new location.

Feeding the Valley Inc. is bringing its mission for feeding the hungry to LaGrange. The organization, located in Columbus, provides food for non-profit organizations and churches in town.

“We wanted to have a facility that would be more accessible to organizations in our more northern counties of Troup, Meriwether, Harris and Talbot counties,” Executive Director Babbs Douglas said.

Until now, those who bought food from Feeding the Valley had to drive to Columbus to pick it up, now with a closer location, they will be able to buy food more often and with easier access.

Feeding the Valley, established in 1983, serves 14 counties in Georgia and Alabama and sells 6.1 million pounds of food annually according to Douglas. It serves as a center for the reception and distribution of donated food and grocery products. Food is purchased for 19 cents per pound.

Feeding the Valley is a government food bank with government restrictions, one being that the food does not go directly to people in need, but to organizations and churches that then help local families and individuals.

Baptist Tabernacle has been working with Feeding the Valley for seven years and buys $1,800 dollars worth of food each month for its food closet.

Merle McMillin, coordinator of the food closet at Baptist Tabernacle, said this food bank will have a “huge impact” on Troup County and all its organizations and churches.

“We are so blessed to be a part of Feeding the Valley,” she said.

McMillin said the center offers fresh and quality food at a cheap price.

According to McMillin, this food bank will be especially helpful for the elderly. Many have to choose between buying food or buying their medication and with a food bank now in LaGrange, they will be able to have more money for medication.

In December alone, Baptist Tabernacle fed 1,105 individuals, 608 families and provided 499 meals, using food from Feeding the Valley.

Another local organization helped by Feeding the Valley is the Emmaus Women Shelter. Director Kay Elam said they started its collaboration in 2012 and the shelter bought 12,000 tons of food that year from Feeding the Valley.

Elam also said the closer location will bring down costs spent driving to and from Columbus transporting food.

With its many volunteer opportunities, Elam said a LaGrange branch will allow the community to get involved.

The opening date for the facility is still yet to be determined as they are currently getting the building ready and moving food from one of the warehouses in Columbus to the LaGrange location. The food bank will be located at 118 Gordon Commercial Drive.