Volunteers and Feeding the Valley work to fight childhood hunger in our region

COLUMBUS, Ga —  “Think about trying to go to sleep at night without having anything to eat.”

Kevin Johnson and his colleagues at Synovus have thought about that. That’s why on this steamy Georgia afternoon they’ve traded their business suits for t-shirts to volunteer at Feeding the Valley.

“So, just to be able to package up some care packages for folks that are down and out, I think it makes a world of difference to them,” says Johnson.

The people lucky enough to work at Feeding the Valley understand that feeling well.  It’s the love of giving to their community, of helping others, that drives their work.

“The biggest thing that touches your heart is when I go out to the kids programs, and I see children, five, six, seven years old that are hungry,” says David Shemlock, an administrator at Feeding the Valley.

What may surprise many of you is the scope of the problem, exactly how many of our friends and neighbors in the Valley are going hungry.

An estimated 84,000 people in the 14 county area served by Feeding the Valley are considered food insecure. That means they lack access to healthy, nutritious food.of those; an estimated 32-percent are children and teens.

Georgia ranked fourth highest in the state in terms of food insecurity for children in 2014, according to the USA Today. These startling numbers bring perspective to why the hunger problem is so severe in our area and why the need for food and monetary donations is so great for Feeding the Valley.

“We have trucks, we have people we pay wages to, benefits, utilities, all those type things. Our trucks travel anywhere from 200 miles a day round trip, too, locally. So we have a lot of expenses,” Shemlock tells News 3.

With expenses and demand high, Feeding the Valley always has room for volunteers.

“We have a total of 20 employees who work here, so we always have need for volunteers,” Shemlock says.

Volunteers like Kevin Johnson and his co-workers who realize that a little selflessness goes a long way.

“Volunteers in Columbus are the lifeblood of our community. We’re reaching hundreds of thousands of people just by doing one small good deed on an afternoon here in the Georgia heat, so we are excited to be here and thankful for the opportunity,” says Johnson.

And so, too, are the many people whose lives are so positively impacted by the good deeds of these volunteers.







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