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Craft brewery matches local non-profit donations up to $25K

NoFo Brew Co. is offering a dollar for dollar match of donations to Meals By Grace.

CUMMING, Ga. — NoFo Brew Co. is well-known for providing adult beverages, specifically craft beer. But now, Forsyth County’s newest brewery is also providing food to those in need. On Wednesday, the team from NoFo announced a dollar for dollar match of donations to Meals By Grace, a local non-profit that’s taken a major hit recently.

Suellen Daniels, the executive director for Meals By Grace, said the timing of this generous donation is perfect, because the demand is up, but the food supply is down.

“No one has ever done that for us before, offered such a huge gift as a match,” she said. “It's amazing. It just blows my mind.”

Daniels said NoFo representatives asked her ahead of time how to go about the donation match. Together, they made it as easy as possible. You can text “FEEDFOCO” to 44321, or you can type “FEEDFOCO” in the “in honor of” section of the Meals By Grace website.

“Every day we can report to them, here's how many gifts came in through both venues and here's the dollar amounts,” Daniels said. “So that makes it easy for us to track so we know where we are in line with that match, because we really want that full $25,000.”

Daniels said Meals By Grace provided nearly 20,000 meals in just the last two weeks of March. Then, in the first week of April, she said more than 200 families came to the pantry for food.

“We have no canned food and no canned vegetables,” Daniels said. “So the problem is just snowballing. It's getting bigger.”

And that’s not the worst of it, she said. With Forsyth County schools being on spring break this week, the problem is exacerbated.

“They need food more than ever because the schools were home delivering to the bus stop at least some breakfast and lunch meals for the kids,” Daniels said. “But since it's spring break and the staff of the schools aren't working, they're not delivering those meals this week. So I'm getting phone calls all day long from parents that were relying on the school bus stop food that don't even have that this week.”

To top it off, she said the refrigerated truck they use to pick up food broke down two weeks ago, leaving them unable to get more supplies from nearby food banks.

Credit: Meals By Grace

“You can't pick up food from the food bank unless you have a refrigerated truck, because they want food health safety and all that. I get it,” Daniels said. “So our truck broke down again, and this time it's not repairable, so we have to find a new engine to put in it just to be able to sell it. But in the meantime, we've had to go looking for a truck. So what we said was we will lease a truck. That way at least the repairs are not our problem because it never fails. It's Murphy's law. When a truck breaks down, it's always right in the middle of a crisis when you need your truck more than ever. So this $25,000 is going to be able to enable us to capture salvaged food from restaurants and food distributors that suddenly have all this salvaged food because restaurants are closed.”

If the food is not picked up, Daniels said, it goes in the dumpster. And with such high demand right now, she said she would hate for the food to go to waste.

“We need that salvaged food,” Daniels said. “We've got to keep a truck running so we can go get that food, keep it stored, and give it out to our families because it helps us expand what little food we can get through other venues right now.”

Volunteers are also needed, she said.

“We have a lot of moms and dads right now that are begging for volunteer opportunities because they've had a lot of time with the kids, and it's not a bad thing,” Daniels said. “Everyone must register to volunteer through our website so that we have restricted teams. All of our teams are working in isolation from one another, so there's no cross breathing or contamination or anything. Social distancing and all of those rules are in effect. We're cleaning everything and sanitizing everything, but we are getting together regular times and places that our volunteers are used to meeting. You can either volunteer or you can deliver, but you can't do both. Usually, it's ‘come and do both!’ But right now it's either-or. That way we can isolate even further.”

All told, there are plenty of ways to support the efforts at Meals By Grace, she said.

”You can give stuff that we need, and we need everything,” Daniels said. “You can give money so we can buy the stuff that we can find that's available, and you can volunteer. You just have to go through the website so that we can follow all the rules.”

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