The Athens Area Emergency Food Bank, the first food bank in Athens, is a private, non-profit corporation founded in 1980 by a coalition of area churches, civic organizations, businesses and individuals concerned about our community's hungry people.

In 2008 our staff, consisting of one part-time and one full-time employee, with the help of 30 community volunteers and a dedicated board of directors, was responsible for distributing food to 2,321 families involving 5,333 people.

The Athens Area Emergency Food Bank is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. We give food only to individuals and families in the Athens/Clarke County area who have been screened and referred by authorized Clarke County agencies. To qualify for referral, an applicant must show proof of the number of people requesting food and Clarke County residency. Although we ask for a simple statement of the emergency, we do not pass judgment in any case. If our requirement for referral cannot be met, we work with other agencies to find a resolution. No one who is hungry is ever turned away.

The majority of our referrals come from the Ark, a church supported agency. Qualified individuals and families are eligible for a seven-day supply of food two times during a six-month period. The food we give is in response to emergencies. We do not have the resources to provide long-term assistance.

The Athens Area Emergency Food Bank is not a United Way agency and we do not receive any governmental funds.  All of our support comes from the generosity of the people within the community.  Last year, 55 percent of our donated funds came from individuals, 29 percent from churches and 5 percent from businesses and organizations.  The remaining funds were obtained through special fundraisers.  Our revenue pays for the two employees, utilities, building, upkeep, insurance, and most importantly, food.

Last year, around 65 percent of the canned goods donated to us came from churches and individuals.  Businesses and civic organizations contributed 35 percent of the non-perishable food during the year.  We received about eleven tons of food from the twenty-eighth annual Can-a-thon, a community food drive, held in December. Most of the Can-a-thon food is collected by the Clarke County School District. We use the U.S.D.A.'s "Thrift Food Plan" and the guidance of a local dietitian in the selection and amount of food given to the families.