The Rotary Club of Greene and Putnam Counties has officially launched its Food Rescue Program.

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation had the distinction of being the first Food Donor and provided a number of aluminum pans of “leftovers” for distribution to a local non-profit agency.

The Circle of Love Center, a non-profit agency that provides direct and support services to domestic violence victims and their children, was the first recipient of the rescued food. Tyra Martin, executive director, Circle of Love, was on hand to acknowledge the receipt of the rescued food. Additionally Becky Cronic, executive director, Greene County Chamber of Commerce and Roddie Anne Blackwell, president of Eatonton-Putnam Chamber joined the launch of the Food Rescue Program.

The Rotary Club Food Rescue Program was the vision of Rotarian Dr. Lou Pack and during the past few months, a number of Rotarians have worked diligently to make this vision a reality. The Food Rescue Program Team Captains Brandi Cooper and Linda Maples are responsible for many of the tasks being accomplished that ensured the launch was timely and built on a solid foundation of planning, documentation and execution. Additionally, the club had the advantage of having a very experienced mentor. Guenther Hecht and his wife, Louise, started their first food rescue program in 1992 in Hilton Head and several years ago established another food rescue program in Sandy Springs. These two groups have collectively distributed more than 16 million pounds of food. The experience and guidance of Guenther and Louise were immeasurable in assisting with us in our planning and execution.

The Rotary Food Rescue Program, named Second Harvest Inc., is a non-profit agency serving the disadvantaged in our community and will be run by volunteers. The club is collecting surplus prepared foods, including meats, soups and vegetables, as well as bread and cakes, dairy, deli and fresh fruits and vegetables. The club is supplying donors with covered aluminum pans, in which they store and freeze food awaiting pickup. All donors are fully protected from liability by State and Federal Good Samaritan Laws. In 1987, Georgia passed an amendment to the State Good Samaritan Food Laws, which provided protection to Food Donors. The Federal Good Samaritan Law was signed October, 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

Dr. Pack stated: “Although we are going through some very difficult economic times, we still have great excess and waste in our midst. Our donors and volunteers have compassion for those in need. As we partner to rescue and distribute this food, we are inspired by the opportunity to help those hard working families and individuals who are in need of a ‘hand-up.’ Working together we can make a difference!”

Dr. Pack and Linda Maples stated: “We will start small to ensure we appropriately partner with our food donors and make our pick-up and delivery of rescued food, a seamless process for all. We have other food donors, such as Reynolds Plantation, and recipients, such as Greene County Food Pantry lined up. We will continue to purse donors, recipients and volunteers and look forward to providing our community with updates on our progress.”

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