Green Baggers help Mid-South Food Bank give meals to needy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of Mid-Southerners don't know where they'll get their next meal. That's why William Gotten brought the Green Baggers to Memphis.

He started the nonprofit Memphians Care two years ago to showcase the generosity of people in our city. One effort the group focuses on is hunger. Its "Simple Gesture" campaign collects food for the Mid-South Food Bank.

"People feel good about donating food, and I tell you it's a real thrill to go by a house and see that green bag on the porch."

This signature green bag is the cornerstone of a simple gesture.  Donors are known as Green Baggers. Getting involved is easy — contact Gotten for a green bag, and you'll also get a list of the items the food bank needs most.

"I will give them a reusable green bag into which they put food donations and put it on their front porch," Gotten said.

Gotten and his helpers collect those bags the second Friday of every month and deliver them to the food bank.

"The Green Baggers understand that people are hungry year-round, and they're working to help us provide those meals year round to our hungry neighbors," said Mid-South Food Bank president and CEO Estella Mayhue-Greer.

The food Gotten and the Green Baggers collected this year has provided 5,000 meals in the Mid-South.

The Green Baggers had a goal to collect 3 ,000 pounds of food. They doubled that goal, donating 6,000 pounds of food this year.

"The food bank is not just the Memphis Food Bank, we're the Mid-South Food Bank, providing food to 31 counties in the Mid-South," Mayhue-Greer said.

To put that in perspective, the food bank distributes 14 to 15 million pounds of food every year to churches, food pantries and community feeding programs.

"The buzz word in nonprofits now is 'collaboration,' nonprofits working together to make a greater impact."

The Green Baggers' consistency and generosity makes it easier for the Mid-South Food Bank to impact more people who might go hungry without their help.