Feeding the Valley, the regional food bank based in Columbus, said it has received a grant of nearly $25,000 from the Caterpillar Foundation, money that will be used to assist more than 320 hungry children in nearby Troup County.
“Feeding the Valley is thankful to the Caterpillar Foundation for its commitment to fighting hunger and supporting families in need in our community,” Frank Sheppard, president and chief executive officer of Feeding the Valley, said in a statement. “Because of this grant, we will be able to better serve families and children in need.”
There are an estimated 13,500 residents in Troup County who fall into the category of chronically hungry, with about 5,000 of those children. The food bank said it will use the extra cash for weekend backpacks filled with edible goods for 320 children throughout the school year.
That is just a tiny piece of the hunger pie that Feeding the Valley works to satiate in a 14-county area, with it distributing more than 8 million pounds of food each year to 43,000 individuals. It has a satellite distribution center in LaGrange, Ga., the Troup County seat.
It was this past spring that the Columbus-based food bank opened its new $3.5 million facility at 6744 Flat Rock Road. The 31,000-square-foot warehouse gives it much more capacity and technological improvements to prepare and distribute perishable and non-perishable food items in a coverage that includes 13 Georgia counties and Russell County in Alabama. It operates a Kids Café hot meal program as well.
The food bank also supplies 270 partner agencies in the region, which encompasses a population of about 430,000. The estimated total number of people considered “chronically hungry” in the coverage area is more than 80,000.
The Troup County grant is just one of the donations that Caterpillar Foundation has given to Feeding America food banks nationally, with it helping to serve more than 39,000 meals to families in communities where the company does business and has employees.
“The Caterpillar Foundation is committed to supporting programs that alleviate poverty. We are proud to partner with Feeding the Valley to support our neighbors who struggle with hunger,” Michele Sullivan, president of Caterpillar Foundation in LaGrange, said in a statement.