Joint proclamation observes Hunger Action Month

Sep. 18—VALDOSTA — The City of Valdosta and Lowndes County joined forces alongside Second Harvest of South Georgia to recognize the month of September as Hunger Action Month in a proclamation ceremony held early Monday morning.

Focusing on its mission of feeding those in need, the Second Harvest of South Georgia, non-profit organization, wanted September to be observed as a reminder of those who suffer from food insecurity. The ceremony began with statistics shared by Second Harvest of South Georgia CEO Frank Richards.

He said the Valdosta-Lowndes County area population consists of over 118,000 people. Almost 27% of the population is considered in poverty and about 30% of the children are also in poverty.

"We operate 22 children feeding sites and 15 summer feeding sites in the region to make sure our population is supported. Hunger is a critical issue for our community," Richard told the attendees.

Hunger's impact is felt across all aspects of the community.

Richard explained, "It affects everything from our healthcare, to our education, workforce and even crime. Families are making choices between paying the power bill and eating."

Lowndes County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bill Slaughter and City of Valdosta Mayor Scott Matheson followed by reading the proclamation calling to inspire people to act and raise awareness of hunger in the United States. Slaughter shared gratitude for the organization's past, current and future role in recovering from Hurricane Idalia and with feeding children in the area.

The Second Harvest of South Georgia location is the central hub to the nearly 12,000 square mile region made up of 26 counties and distributes food to over 300 non-profit organizations including food pantries, shelters and other programs. The food bank also provides hot meals to children in afterschool programs like the Kids' Cafe.

"Second Harvest is and will continue to play a long-term role in our recovery. They were there for us as we moved into the recovery stage but the long term recovery is going to be for the citizens in our community that are displaced from their homes. Their role is really going to be huge in the next two to three months as they help those in need with food and even with things as simple as water," Slaughter said in an interview after the ceremony. "Second Harvest can't do what they do without the volunteers that come into this facility each and every day. We're very proud to have them here in our community."Richard hoped that with the proclamation would help others to be able to recognize and raise awareness on the issue more within the community. The officials were present with staff from the food bank as well as City Councilwoman Vivian Miller-Cody of District 1, Valdosta Assistant City Manager Catherine Ammons and County Manager Paige Dukes.

To learn more about more about Second Harvest or make a donation, visit