Food Bank Law Helps Save Dough - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Food Bank Law Helps Save Dough

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Augusta, GA - The food banks of Georgia are catching a break so that feeding the thousands of people who need a meal in the CSRA can be a little easier.

House Bill 958, a new law recently signed by Governor Nathan Deal, will eliminate the sales tax food banks pay when making large scale food purchases.  Those food purchases help feed the hungry Georgians all over the state.

The mother of all food pantries in the CSRA is rejoicing after the recent signing of a long awaited law. 

“Essentially, Golden Harvest is going to be stronger than it was last year,” said Travis McNeal, Executive Director.  “Two years ago state law didn’t require us to pay sales tax on our food purchases.  That law ran out so we’ve been working really hard.”

McNeal noted the food bank is responsible for distributing 16.2 million pounds of food across 30 counties to 300 partner agencies.  To accomplish that, it cost the food bank $120,000 in two years. 

McNeal added that $60, 000 expense a year from a more than three million dollar operating budget affected everything from gasoline in delivery trucks to forklift operators.

He said, “It meant that we weren’t able to purchase as much food.  We weren’t able to be an effective partner with our agencies.  Essentially, we weren’t able to feed as many hungry people.”

Gov. Deal said the sales tax exemption helps save $2.5 million through the next two years.   In a press release he stated, “I strongly believe in the mission of our local food banks.  With their help, we have been able to actively fight against hunger, serve those less fortunate and assist with disaster relief.”

“Golden Harvest is an operation of faith.  So, every day we know that God is going to take care of us,” McNeal said.

McNeal added the bill will end after two years.   So, he said the fight to restore savings will continue at that time. 

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