AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- There is some good news in the fight against hunger across the 2-state. Tuesday morning, Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta is celebrating the first phase of a big expansion.

Golden Harvest serves 25 counties and a few years ago, they recognized a huge increase in food insecurity in this area and went to work to close that gap.

As the need for food increased because of the pandemic and inflation, so did the need for space at Golden Harvest.

So, they built a new volunteer packing and sorting area, more office and conference room space, and a new front entrance.

CEO, Amy Breitmann, explained that this will help them make sure that as many people as possible are fed.

“Well it’s an incredible upgrade for us, because volunteers are really the heart of what we do. You know, we have a little under 60 employees at Golden Harvest, but we can’t do it without…we have about 1,300 volunteers a month, right now, that help us and that can exponentially increase with these areas.”

With the pandemic and inflation, more and more families are finding themselves struggling to put food on the table.

The new volunteer space will Golden Harvest Food Bank welcome more volunteers than before. That means more help in feeding hungry families in the area.

Breitmann said Golden Harvest wanted a place just for the people who help make the food bank function.

“So, I think the most exciting piece is the volunteer center and volunteer break room, which we’ve never had before. You know, a dedicated space for folks to come in, to have a locker, to have a place to have a snack, watch a welcome video and then go in and volunteer with us.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, at Golden Harvest’s headquarters on Commerce Drive in Augusta.

Phase 2 of the project–a Produce Rescue Center–is expected to be completed sometime next year.