Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens kicks off statewide food drive in Columbus

State Attorney General Sam Olens visited Feeding the Valley Food Bank Thursday to encourage lawyers and others in the legal profession to donate canned goods in April and May.

Olens' visit was part of a statewide food drive called "Legal Food Frenzy." Local lawyers are encouraged to ask clients and members of the community to donate canned goods and money to Feeding the Valley April 23 through May 4.

Olens said donating canned goods to food banks like Feed the Valley is important. One out of six families in the state have inadequate nutrition and while 60 percent of children are eligible for free or reduced lunch, only 15 percent have access to a summer feeding program, he said.

"When people contribute here, the food and the money stay here," Olens said.

The attorney general's office is trying to get 250 law firms in Georgia to participate and collect more than 1 million pounds of canned food, Olens said. They are particularly looking for proteins, like tuna fish, beans and peanut butter. He said the competition between law firms is based on per capita collection, to balance the playing field between small and large firms.

Superior Court Judge William Rumer said he's seen the effects hunger can have on a child.

When he was a foster parent, his 3-year-old foster daughter used to ask him, "Daddy, are we gonna eat tonight?" when he picked her up from daycare. Before she was placed in foster care, her mother drove a taxi, he said, she used to spend every day after school sitting in a cab.

"I realized when she was in the front seat of that cab, she hadn't had supper," he said.

Olens said anyone interested in donating to the "Legal Food Frenzy," food drive can write a check to Feeding the Valley, indicating it is for the food drive, or ask a lawyer they know if they are participating. Olens said they are encouraging all members of the legal community to participate.