Fort Valley food bank raises nearly 80 tons of food

FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – One middle Georgia food bank beat its goal and raised nearly 80 tons of food to give out to lower income families. 

Shelves are stocked, boxes are packed, and the Grace House is gearing up for another round of donations. 

"It’s just loving on people, trying to get people a little farther down the road," Craig McKinney, the executive director at the food bank, said. 

McKinney oversees the tons of food brought in to the pantry each week from the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank. He says feeding his community is a challenge, but he’s happy organizations are donating food and playing their part. 

"We have about 500 clients that come in and we service every month. 500 families a month, so the need is very great," McKinney said. 

One of those clients is Lillie Banks who volunteers at the Grace House. She says she’s working for her donation, and is happy to give back at the same time. 

"It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun doing it," Banks said. 

Her son invited her to volunteer after years of helping out on his own. 

"He told me, ‘Mom you need to come out and help out instead of sitting around the house and watching TV.’ I said true. So I come down and I’ve been doing it ever since," Banks said. 

McKinney says his goal for the "Tons of Love" campaign was to raise 70 tons of food. He’s passed that mark with 76 tons and is looking for even more next year. 

"When the wrapping paper and the gifts are unwrapped and everything is being cleaned up and the trees are put away, we’re still down here all the way through the year," he said. 

A year round service for the Fort Valley community, filled with volunteers, looking to put smiles on families’ faces and feed them at the same time. 

The Grace House Community Food Bank will reopen on January 6th. McKinney says the pantry is open twice a week and caters to families who have SNAP or USDA benefits.

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(478) 745-4141 ext. 311 Skyler joined the 41 NBC News Team in April 2013. He anchors the news at 6 p.m. and also covers stories going on throughout the day. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb right outside of Atlanta. Before heading to Middle Georgia, Skyler worked as a stage manager for WSB- TV in Atlanta. Skyler graduated from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Multimedia Communication. He went to school initially to be an architect, but one step inside of the student radio station changed everything. While at Georgia Southern, he was exposed to radio and television and became the Program Director of the student radio station and was a part of a team that received a Southeast Regional student Emmy for their work on the program "Inside Georgia Southern Football." Skyler anchored and reported for Georgia Southern University's "Eagle News." There he covered the 2010 midterm elections live as well as reported on stories in the community. In the Spring 2012, Skyler interned for Clear Channel in Los Angeles, California. Skyler is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. In his free time, you can find Skyler watching the latest movies and reading up on all things in Hollywood. He also loves spending time with his family and friends and finding inspirational quotes. He loves telling stories about politics, tax dollars at work in the community, and highlighting people and business who don’t normally get the spotlight. If you have any story ideas, email Skyler at