AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Local organizations and elected officials are focused on reducing the curve of food insecurity in the CSRA.

Golden Harvest Food Bank is working with elected officials to reduce the number of people who don’t know where their next meal might come from, or if they’ll be able to afford it. 

“It’s a starting point to a complicated issue, and I think that the minds that were at the table today – led by the Golden Harvest Food Bank – is gonna get us to a better place very soon,” District 1 Commissioner Jordan Johnson said.

With the growing need for food at a reasonable cost, community and state leaders gathered for a round table discussion about steps to reduce food insecurity. 

“We’ve got 350 partners out there that are the true heroes on the frontlines, and then, we’ve got these leaders that have the ability to pass laws and to make suggestions – locally and statewide – that can impact our work together,” CEO of Golden Harvest Amy Breitmann said.

Golden Harvest announced a new initiative called BackpackXL, whose goal is to provide meals and resources for students in the CSRA from middle to high school. 

State Senator Harold Jones says one of his concerns for food insecurity is the stereotype that comes with it. 

“One of the things they talked about was the stigma of persons who are in need. That needs to go away because all of us can be in those circumstances. So, the key thing is we have to be ready and available to fit those needs.” 

But overall, his hope is for a more concrete solution through a bill that he created that is in the process. 

“One of the things is… it’s very difficult to say one bill will solve the issue. This kind of puts stakeholders together, which is key, and I think this will be a great first step to solving the issue.”

No matter how far or near, officials are certain of one thing. 

“How do we get the resources to the people, whether that’s in east Augusta or West Augusta? The need is there. So again, it’s causing us to meet with folks across this community to figure out strategies to get folks the help that they need,” Johnson said. 

All involved say they’re hopeful that they’ll be able to help fill the gaps of food insecurity throughout the CSRA.