(ATLANTA ,July 7, 2015)The fight against hunger in the Peach State recently received a major shot in the arm.
Capping off the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) 2015 Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar and Expo held June 7-9 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta, organizers of the event donated 19 tractor-trailers of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB), believed to be the largest one-time donation the non-profit agency has ever received.
The donated items included meats, packaged bread, cheese, baked goods and desserts, weighing in at a whopping 148,714 lbs., or 74.357 tons. “I would say this is one of the largest, if not the largest, donations we’ve gotten from an event of this kind,” said Angie Clawson, Public Relations Manager for ACFB. “The donation helped 25 of our partner agencies provide a total of 123,928 meals.”
As Clawson alluded to, the ACFB serves more than the capital city, partnering with agencies in 29 metro Atlanta and North Georgia counties to collect food and distribute to community kitchens, childcare centers, senior centers, night shelters and food pantries.
“The whole state of Georgia will feel the impact of this one show,” said Mark Zimmerman, GWCC’s General Manager.
The GWCC staff is well-versed in working with shows, events and expos hosted at the facility to donate unused food and supplies to the ACFB, and the complex’s catering partner, Levy Restaurants, donates more than 30,000 pounds of food annually. The IDDBA donated 18 truckloads of food to the ACFB after its 2009 show at the GWCC as well.
“Each year we bring the industry together for our Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar and Expo. At the close of our annual event, IDDBA coordinates the collection and donation of food from our exhibitors to local agencies,” said Mike Eardley, IDDBA’s President and CEO. “One of the most rewarding aspects is the opportunity to give back to the community where our show is hosted.”
While impressive when viewed on its own merits, this massive food endowment dovetails with the GWCC’s heightened sustainability efforts, the organization’s mission statement, and commitment to community outreach.
“It definitely falls in line with our mission in multiple ways,” said Patrick Skaggs, GWCC’s Assistant General Manager. “Had this customer not donated the food, we most likely would have had to pay for some of the dumpster trash hauls that would have been necessary, so it helps financially. It helps those in need in our community, which we are charged with improving the lives of Georgians.”
Diverting the facility’s potential waste from landfills is also an important factor, said Ima Otudor, GWCC’s Recycling Specialist. “It’s good that it’s not going to a landfill,” she said. “Eventually landfills are going to run out of space.”
Attendance was also up at the 2015 IDDBA show. According to www.iddba.org, “Dairy-Deli-Bake hosted 9,322 registered attendees, breaking the association’s previous record of 8,727.”
Increased attendance ultimately means more funds for public coffers, as convention-goers – 91 percent of whom are from out of town – pump what’s known as “new dollars” into the local economy, money that wouldn’t be spent in Georgia without the GWCC and its sister properties, the Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park, hosting such events.
The approximate total economic impact of the IDDBA show is $19 million, according to Skaggs.
“The shows that come to town provide economic benefit,” said Zimmerman. “Typically, they stay in downtown hotels, go to downtown restaurants, take MARTA, use taxis, visit attractions, but these guys (the IDDBA) are doing more than that because they’re giving back to community.”
Sr. Staff Writer
Georgia World Congress Center
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