AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The local food bank is getting some help to provide more meals to families across the CSRA. The City of Augusta secured a $3.7 million Community Development Block Grant that will help Golden Harvest Food Bank expand its facilities and feed more people across 25 counties.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with Golden Harvest Food Bank President and CEO Amy Breitmann about what this money means.
“It’s definitely going to be life changing for the mission but more so for the people that we serve,” she said.
More food is on the way to help the growing number of hungry families across the CSRA.
“We saw at the food bank, right out of the gates when the pandemic began, just this huge spike in people that were needing to navigate the charitable food system for the first time,” Breitmann recalled. “So many people overnight lost their jobs and they were just really one paycheck away from facing this.”
Breitmann told us there is a 30 percent increase in people who are food insecure in the state of Georgia. The CDBG grant secured by the City of Augusta would provide $3.7 million toward Phase 2 of Golden Harvest Food Bank’s nearly $5 million new facility project. She said they will be able to demolish the 56-year-old faith food factory off Gordon Highway and construct another building that provides more storage space for more food.
“We’ll be adding coolers and freezers, space where volunteers can help us to sort and get those produce, meat and fresh vegetables ready to go out to our partner agencies and go into backpack programs and senior feeding programs throughout our 25 counties,” Breitmann said.
Along with additional volunteers once it’s done, there is also a need for 25 percent of local donations to match the grant to see the project through. Breitmann says getting more food to people who need it is part of a larger goal.
She said, “Our ten year plan is to eliminate this eight million meal gap that exist in our service area. This is a big step in our building capacity, which is what we said we were going to do in the first couple of years.”
Breitmann added they hope to begin construction in the middle or end of next year. The grant needs to be spent by 2024.