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Food Bank of NE GA Gets $465,000 Donation

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has donated $465,000 to the Athens-based Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. No, that isn’t a typo: $465,000.

That’s the local food bank’s share of the $100 million the billionaire gave to the nonprofit Feeding America earlier this month. To put it in perspective, it’s about an eighth of the agency’s annual $3.5 million budget.

The food bank will use the money to buy food, of course, but also to purchase distribution vehicles, upgrade warehouse equipment and offer cold and dry storage equipment to its 230 partner agencies, according to executive director Chuck Toney.

The food bank is distributing about 30% more food since the coronavirus pandemic hit, Toney said, and the need has doubled in the mountain counties served by the food bank’s Clayton location. Donations are up, too—the agency has raised $200,000 so far this month when ordinarily it would have reached about $12,000.

“The response of our philanthropic community here and across the district has been phenomenal,” Toney said.

But he emphasized that the food bank still needs financial support. Unemployment is expected to rise, and the need for food and other resources will only get stronger as the pandemic continues.

“This is going to take a long time,” Toney said.