WAYNESBORO, G.A. (WJBF) – Food insecurity in Waynesboro could be coming to an end. That’s thanks to a 24-hour food pantry now in the works.
“A lot of people are hungry,” said Cpl. Gary Jenkins.
And Waynesboro Police Department is working to fix that.
“What we want to do here is establish a 24-hour food pantry, by building a box right outside the police department,” said Cpl. Jenkins.
Cpl. Gary Jenkins with the Waynesboro PD says there are a number of food resources already available in the city, but accessing them can be challenging for some.
Cpl. Jenkins says, “The others we have are indoor food pantries, in which once the facility is closed, it’s unavailable.”
Not to mention most of those pantries are across town and most people using those resources do not have the transportation to get to those pantries.
“What I’ve noticed is there is a lot of traffic here throughout the day throughout the night. 24 hours a day pretty much, people walking and it’s not that they have a destination, they’re homeless, they don’t have anywhere to go,” said Cpl. Jenkins.
With the Waynesboro Police Department in the heart of downtown, Cpl. Jenkins says the location would be the perfect place to have the 24-hour pantry. He says people who are in need would be able to stop by go into the box and get what they need without any costs.
“I’ve also noticed that it’s not the people that receive benefits to purchase food, but it’s the person that may make enough money to not receive benefits but they can’t afford enough food. So, they have the option of food or gas, food or rent, and it shouldn’t be an option,” he said.
Cpl. Jenkins says he’s already begun forming partnerships within the community to get the project up and running. One of those partnerships includes Wymberely House Ministries, a local nonprofit that’s been hands-on in keeping the community fed.
“Unfortunately, Burke County does have a lot of lower income individuals that live here, and we have a lot of individuals that aren’t necessarily homeless, but they are displacing, and by that I mean they go to family member to family member and they just don’t stay in one residence for a long period of time,” Lynn White, the Executive Director of Wymberely House Ministries.
At last check, the poverty rate in Burke County was more the 20 percent and city leaders say that number is steadily on the rise.
“But this pantry is needed, we don’t have necessarily a food bank within the county for individuals to come and receive food with, but with this pantry individuals will have something quick to access meals or nourishment with at anytime,” she said.
Cpl. Jenkins is planning to bring this idea up at the next city council meeting and once approved they plan to have it up and running as soon as possible.