Feeding the Valley LaGrange gives away over 11,000 pounds in produce

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2022

On a hot Tuesday morning, the LaGrange branch of Feeding the Valley held a produce giveaway at Shuford Fields. According to Jimmy Pruitt, manager of the local Feeding the Valley food bank warehouse, approximately 11,000 pounds of free produce was available for the giveaway.

“When we get an abundance of produce in from the USDA, we have to get rid of it rather quickly,” Pruitt said.

Feeding the Valley goes into areas in the community and sets up the giveaway. Local volunteer agencies then come in and create a drive-through style market allowing residents to drive through and get the produce.

“We’re just here to help the people that need help,” Becky Palmer, a volunteer said. 

The produce pop-up event works as another way that Feeding America / Feeding the Valley can help tackle food insecurity in local communities, he said.

“We know there’s a lot of things going on in our economic situation and the way that things are, people are beginning to need things like this more and more,” Pruitt said. “So, this is what we feel like we can do to help.”

Normally, according to Pruitt, when giveaways are held, they have anywhere between 12,000 – 15,000 pounds of produce and appropriately over 500 cars come through the line.

“To me, the fun part is giving out the food,” said Barry Davis, truck driver for Feeding the Valley LaGrange. “When I bring in the food, the work is done, and they take it over from there.”

However, even though there are thousands of pounds of produce to giveaway, it often goes fast.

To help make sure everyone in the drive-through gets a chance to be helped, they give enough to locals that can feed two families.

“If they want to drive around a circle and get back in line to get more, they can. But we limit that to a family unit at a time, to make sure everybody gets a little bit,” Pruitt said.

Interested parties can find out where the next produce pop-up will be through Feeding the Valley’s Facebook page and their website, feedingamerica.org. According to Pruitt, he does live broadcasts and posts a schedule approximately 48 hours in advance.

Those interested in volunteering in can do so by contacting Pruitt at Feeding the Valley Warehouse or by coming its location on 118 Gordon Commercial Drive.

“Come out there and see me, and let me know what you want to do,” Pruitt said. “I will put your name on the list, and we will contact you when we get ready to do another pop-up.”

According to the organization’s website, Feeding the Valley is one of eight regional food banks in Georgia and is a member of Feeding Georgia.

Currently the organization is headquartered in Columbus, where it serves as a centralized source for receiving and distributing donated food, fresh produce and grocery products from national and local retail donors as well as seasonal produce from local providers.

For more information on Feeding the Valley LaGrange, visit https://www.facebook.com/feedingthevalley or visit their location at 118 Gordon Commercial Drive.