Did a bit of research. the ATC is not happy about the increase in hiker feeds.
snippet from their site
"“TRAIL MAGIC” ALONG THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
Issue: The evolution of “Trail Magic” from small spontaneous acts of kindness to larger and increasingly common planned social events, such as multi-day hiker “feeds,” and the
appropriateness of leaving unattended food and drink along the A.T.
Background: Spontaneous acts of generosity and hospitality provided by “Trail Angels” are one of the A.T.’s hallmarks. "Trail magic" can be a wonderful thing when done in ways that is not harmful to trail resources, wildlife, or the experience of hikers. However, there is a growing concern in the A.T. community that Trail Magic is evolving in ways that are inconsistent with the intended “Trail Experience” defined by the ATC’s Board of Managers:
“The sum of opportunities that are available for those walking the Appalachian Trail to interact with the wild, scenic, pastoral, cultural, and natural elements of the environment of the Appalachian Trail, unfettered and unimpeded by competing sights or sounds and in as direct and intimate a manner as possible.”
"Limit the number and size of events and locate them in developed, off-trail areas with paved,graveled, or grassy surfaces. Remember that some people come to the Trail to get away from crowds and are seeking an opportunity for solitude and contemplation."
"Forego advertising. Publicizing a “feed” in advance can lead to clumping of thru-hikers,
causing overcrowded conditions at shelters and campsites. Billboards are for highways.
Advertising – even non-commercial – is prohibited on the A.T. to preserve its wilderness