Legal community gives back through Food Frenzy
by Matt Shinall
Apr 21, 2012 | 1101 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Matt Shinall/The Daily Tribune News
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, right, talks to members of the Bartow County Bar Association after Friday’s meeting at the Cartersville Country Club.
Matt Shinall/The Daily Tribune News Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, right, talks to members of the Bartow County Bar Association after Friday’s meeting at the Cartersville Country Club.
slideshow
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens was on hand Friday for the Bartow County Bar Association meeting to help raise awareness for an upcoming food drive hosted by members of the legal community statewide.

Lawyers, judges and others in the court system will be participating in the inaugural Georgia Legal Food Frenzy from April 23 to May 4.

"The idea is, you go to the legal community and ask them to either donate money or collect canned goods and it goes to the state's regional food banks," Olens said. "For every $1 you contribute, a food bank with their federal connections can buy 4 pounds of food.

"We specifically timed the Georgia program, which will be an annual program it's not just a one-time program, so that the money you collect and the product that you collect goes to the local food banks expressly to be used to help kids over the summer."

Legal Food Frenzy, which originated in Virginia and now is conducted in four states, will distribute food from regional food banks to area food pantries and at-risk neighborhoods where Olens hopes the program can directly benefit school-age children during summer months.

"Our food banks have never had as much pressure on them as they do now," Olens said. "I'm going to give you three statistics. Statistic No. 1, one out of six Georgia families don't have adequate nutrition -- now that's not good but it's not a scary statistic, one out of six. Sixty percent of the public school children in our state are eligible for free or reduced lunch, now I would suggest to you that is a scary statistic -- 60 percent eligible for free or reduced lunch.

"And the third statistic is that only 15 percent of those children are covered by any sort of summer lunch program."

Olens added that many students receiving free and reduced lunch during the school year also go without breakfast leaving many in danger of a long summer without adequate nutrition.

"It should make you feel good that we're doing something to help these kids that otherwise may not have a prayer of a breakfast or lunch all summer so it's really, really important stuff," Olens said, asking those in attendance to give generously during the drive.

Faye McCord, president of the Bartow County Bar Association, echoed Olens' sentiment on the importance of giving to the cause, which also allows law firms across the state to compete for the most money and food collected.

"I know there are a dozen different churches in Bartow County that have the kind of outreach that the attorney general is talking about trying to help and in Bartow County we still have double digit unemployment so it is incredibly important. A little bit of your time and money can go a long way," McCord said.

Acting as the area representative for the Georgia Legal Food Frenzy, Will Owens, an associate at Akin & Tate, can be reached for more information at 770-382-0780. Canned goods and monetary donations can be made at many Bartow County law firms with checks made to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.