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January 11, 2005   Email to Friend 

ALFA GIVES $20,000 TO HELP GLEAN FOOD FROM FARMERS FIELDS
Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
January 11, 2005

Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby, left, presents a $20,000 donation to Society of St. Andrew founder and Executive Director Ken Horne, center, and Alabama SoSA director Rachel Gonia.
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- A $20,000 gift from the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance will help get extra food and produce that would normally be wasted into the hands of needy families.

Alfa President Jerry Newby presented the contribution Jan. 11 to officials from the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) at Alfa's headquarters in Montgomery. SoSA is a faith-based national non-profit organization that works to recover leftover produce from the fields of farmers. The food is then distributed to the poor as well as victims of natural disasters.

"The Society of St. Andrew is making a tremendous impact in the lives of people, and Alfa and the Alabama Farmers Federation are proud to be able to support its work here in Alabama," Newby said. "Our organization was founded on the idea that farmers can improve the lives of all rural people by joining forces to accomplish common goals. The Society of St. Andrews has a similar mission. By bringing together farmers, volunteers and food distributors, it is providing food to those who need it most."

SoSA was founded in 1979 by Ken Horne, a former Methodist minister, when his friend, a potato farmer, challenged Horne to distribute culled and extra potatoes to hungry families. To date, the organization has distributed about 450 million pounds of food and currently has offices in four states.

The Alabama office of SoSA opened this year under the direction of Rachel Gonia of Alexander City. Gonia already has been gleaning food in Alabama, and last year distributed more than 300,000 pounds of produce to the hungry and hurting. Alfa's contribution will help get the Alabama office of SoSA up and running and will be matched through a grant from the United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation.

In addition to Gonia, the Alabama branch of SoSA will include one other full-time employee, a produce procurement officer, who will work with farmers and farmers' markets to secure food donations. Horne said his goal for Alabama is to collect and distribute 3 million to 4 million pounds of food each year.

For more information about the Society of St. Andrew, visit www.endhunger.org.


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