Hurricane Relief: Irma and Harvey

Second Harvest of South Georgia has successfully raised the $25,000 necessary to provide food boxes to 1,200 families in the Houston area affected by Hurricane Harvey.  We will be responding to Hurricane Irma, but specific relief efforts will be determined as events unfold. 

Your support is invaluable in helping us continue to help people during and in the aftermath of these storms.

You may give online HERE. You may also give by check by sending a check to 1411 Harbin Circle, Valdosta, GA 31601.  Gifts may also be made in person at any of our warehouses.  PLEASE make sure that you designate that your gift be used for “HURRICANE RELIEF”.  If giving online, enter the designation in the area marked “Add message to seller”.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for announcements about our disaster relief work in response to Irma.

Risk

(This story is part of an ongoing series by Second Harvest CEO Frank Richards.)

Years ago, I had the privilege of serving with a Jimmy Carter Habitat for Humanity work project. That week we worked what felt like 24 hours a day feeding thousands of people. It was exhausting, but as in lots of stressful life situations, something happened that would forever change my life.  
It was there I met Esther. Esther was 84, and she could run circles around us all. As we worked, she would regale me with stories about living through Word War II and how she met her husband. She enjoyed the time she spent volunteering and never seemed to tire.

One afternoon we were cleaning up after lunch, and Esther began to share with me some of the happy moments in her life. Her husband had passed away, and she was in that stage of life where most folks begin to remember all their wonderful life adventures.

After she finished a story, I asked her to tell me one piece of advice she would give a young person. She became quiet and still, carefully contemplating her answer. With a new spark in her eyes she replied, “Always be willing to take a risk on behalf of someone who can’t- in doing this you will learn to love, trust, and have faith.”

I thought about this statement for weeks. How could I apply this to my own life and career? The more I thought, the more I realized how her words would guide me in growing the services of the food bank.

That fall I began to write a new personal mission statement that included taking risks on behalf of those who can’t and today. We at Second Harvest now take risks, and we do it on behalf of those who can’t.

The new Thomasville Distribution Center is a perfect example. It will change Southwest Georgia in ways that we can only dream. Placing a huge food hub in an area of the state that is stricken with poverty and need will bring about a fundamental change in how we collect and distribute food and emergency supplies.

We had to take a real leap of faith – faith that our communities would stand behind us, faith that we can make the difference we think we can. It was and is scary. It adds stress to our environment, but taking on a failing food bank, opening a new branch, or building a multimillion dollar distribution center, is the right thing to do. As Esther told me all those years ago, helping those who don’t have any options themselves is how we grow our faith and extend that faith to those who need us. Faith is the action that shows someone cares and will risk everything in their power to make a difference.

Exciting TH Announcement!

We have GREAT news! Several months ago we posted information on Georgia Pacific’s Call to Canvas art contest. We appreciate those schools who participated.

We are thrilled to announce that two of our area schools won! Congratulations to Turner County Elementary and Ware County Middle School who will be receiving a GP prize pack later this month.  Teacher’s Harvest also won in the Kids in Need Foundation affiliate category! 

As a result, we will be hosting a special BONUS shopping day sponsored by Georgia Pacific on Thursday, August 10 from 3-6 pm. This shopping day will not count against your monthly allowed visits. Georgia Pacific is bringing raffles, giveaways, and copy paper for every teacher who visits that day, as well as yummy refreshments!  We have a LOT of new products in stock after our school supply drive at Wild Adventures – Crayola crayons, Crayola markers, notebooks, composition books, etc.   

Representatives from Georgia Pacific and the Kids in Need Foundation will be with us on August 10. It’s very important that we have a good turnout to show our gratitude for their support of our program. Come shop that day and help us thank them. Eligible teachers who attend also be getting FIRST crack at this great new inventory, as well as copy paper and snacks!  

Let us know if you’ll be attending by emailing hpeverill@feedingsga.org OR commenting on our Facebook post about the bonus shopping day.

As a reminder, Teacher’s Harvest is only open to public school teachers in our 30 county region.  Please review our eligibility guidelines prior to visiting us.

Teacher’s Harvest Kickoff Inventory & Reminders

Items available at Kickoff MAY include the following based on supply and space. As always at Teacher’s Harvest, our inventory is 100% donation based. Stock will vary throughout the week.

A few reminders for Kickoff:

• We will be very busy that week. Both staff and volunteers will be doing the best we can to make things move quickly. Your patience and good manners will be much appreciated.

• Keep in mind that during Kickoff we will not be able to respond to calls, Facebook posts/messages, or emails until the end of each day.

• You may shop ONE time during the week of Kickoff. You MUST bring a photo ID and proof of employment that states your position. Pay stubs will not be accepted.

• You may NOT leave children unsupervised in your vehicle or outside while you wait/shop. Older children do not count as supervision. Your children are welcome to accompany you while shopping. Additionally, no pets are allowed on the premises (including left in your vehicle).

After Kickoff:

• Teacher’s Harvest will reopen on Saturday, August 5 from 9:30 am – 12 pm.

• We will resume normal operating hours the following week: Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6 pm.

• PLEASE note that our shopping visit policy has changed. Teachers may shop ONCE per calendar month. Participating in Kickoff will not count toward your allotted monthly shopping visits.

Teacher’s Harvest Kickoff FAQ!

Answers to most questions about kickoff can be found here.  We are busy preparing for the event, and so we ask that read through these before emailing or calling for more information.

• When is Kickoff?

o July 24-27, 2017 from 9 am to 1 pm.

Who is eligible to participate?

o Full-time teachers, media specialists, and counselors employed by one of the PUBLIC schools in our 30 county service territory are eligible to participate.

o Take our short Eligibility Quiz at Facebook.  Click HERE to take the quiz.

Who is NOT eligible to participate?

o Paraprofessionals, administrators, office staff, and other school employees are NOT eligible.

o Private schools, day care centers, homeschools, and HeadStart Center employees are NOT eligible to start.

How do I register for Kickoff?

o Online registration is now CLOSED. You may register in person the day of the event.

o It is not necessary to register more than once.

What documentation do I need to bring?

o Please bring proof of identity and employment. If your employee ID badge has a photograph AND your title, that will suffice. If not, bring a photo ID and documentation that indicates your title (e.g. Teacher) like a contract or a letter from your administrator.

o Pay stubs will NOT be accepted as proof of employment.

If I’ve shopped before, do I still have to bring ID?

o Yes, all shoppers must bring the required documentation.

I can’t be there for kickoff. Can my friend shop for me?

o No. We are unable to accommodate Buddy Boxes during Kickoff.

What if I’ve shopped already this summer? Can I shop during Kickoff?

o Yes! You may shop for Kickoff. This starts a new school year and doesn’t count against your monthly shopping visits.

Are guests allowed to accompany me?

o You’re welcome to bring a guest with you. These guests are ONLY allowed to walk through with you.  They are not allowed to shop. However, if you are bringing children, you must supervise them at all times as this is a working warehouse with lots of activity and heavy machinery in operation.

o Children may NOT be left unattended in vehicles or outside during your visit. Older children (under the age of 15) may not act as supervision for younger kids.  Pets are not allowed on campus at all.

What can I expect to find at Kickoff?

o Sample inventory is posted on our website.  This inventory WILL vary during Kickoff.

The Tree

There was a picture of an oak tree that hung in the small cabin I knew as home in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee. There wasn’t much else, and decorations like art were considered a luxury. But there it hung. It had always been there – at least as long as I could remember, so to Little Kid me that was the same thing.

As an undiagnosed dyslexic, everyone (including me) thought I was just plain dumb. Reading was my nightmare, and yet I could read the sentence on the picture. I often asked my grandfather what it meant. He’d laugh and say if kept my nose clean and my rear tired I’d understand one day. I just figured that meant he didn’t know either.

Growing up in that little corner of the world, I did learn about hard work. There was always something to be done on the farm. There were always sacrifices to be made. Money was tight, but family and community bonds were tighter. We got by. The rhythms of farm life imbedded in my soul. Planting, harvesting, canning, slaughtering, gathering each came with their respective season. Nobody had a lot, but we shared what we had.

Then my grandfather died at time when my teenage self needed him most. I thought how he had never explained what the picture hanging on the wall meant. Life went on. We moved to South Georgia. I missed him.

Not until my grownup self became the director of the food bank and had my own children did I remember the picture and the words. They came to me early one morning before anyone at my house was stirring. I’m pretty sure I said the words out loud. In an instant, all those memories came flooding back. It was at that moment I knew, I knew why Grandaddy couldn’t tell me. No one can tell you. Understanding comes from living – living the words, not just reading them. I had found my North Star and, at that moment, when I said the words, I heard my grandfather’s voice repeating them with me:

“A society grows great when it plants trees under whose shade it will never set.”

~~~

With gratitude for your support, 

Frank Richards, CEO 

Putting a face on hunger

Decisions made in Washington and Atlanta have a direct impact on the lives of our neighbors in need. Discussions of legislation often take place ‘in a vacuum’ so to speak. They are data-driven – and with good reason. We want all programs to be based on proven data and experience.

However, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the facts and figures and to lose sight of those who are affected by federal programs. Most lawmakers don’t get the opportunity to see firsthand the seniors, children, and veterans who are fed through the programs we operate in partnership with USDA. That’s where it’s up to all of us to make sure our elected officials see faces and not just figures.

Second Harvest of South Georgia takes an active role in advocacy work. We meet regularly with our state and federal delegations to relay our experiences in the field and express our opinions on legislation that affects hunger relief efforts. We also have them visit us at our food bank, on manna drops, and at our Kids Cafe sites to see how things work on the front lines. We help them put a face with the facts – to identify personally with these seemingly abstract numbers.

Advocacy isn’t lobbying. It’s educating anyone and everyone who will listen on the issue of hunger in South Georgia and in the US. It’s delineating truth from fiction on hunger relief work. There are varying levels of involvement in advocacy. It’s can be as easy as using your social media platforms to share information and awareness, but it can also be as our meetings in DC. We will be sending our advocacy updates on our Facebook page and via email. If you’d like to to be kept up to date on our advocacy work or help us speak up for our neighbors in need, sign up for our new Advocacy Update email here!

Subscribe to our Second Harvest Advocacy mailing list

* indicates required



/

( mm / dd )

Call to Canvas Art Contest!

Georgia Pacific, in partnership with the Kids in Need Foundation, is holding an art contest for schools served by KINF Resource Center affiliates like Teachers’ Harvest.  Participating teachers will in a Thirty-One Bag prize from Teachers’ Harvest (while supplies last) and will be entered to win the Grand Prize of GP copy paper for their school!

Entries are due to Hannah at TH by May 5!  Click HERE for full details.

Storm Relief: #SouthGAStrong

During the month of January, South Georgia has been afflicted by a series of storms -first on January 2 and then again this past weekend.  Second Harvest of South Georgia is working diligently to help to provide for those affected by the storms. 

For updates on our work, visit our Facebook page HERE.

You can help us care for our neighbors in need by making a monetary donation HERE or by check (mailed to 1411 Harbin Circle, Valdosta, Ga 31601.)

Thank you for helping us keep #SouthGAStrong.

Corks and Forks – a Benefit for Second Harvest

corksandforksLearn about the historic Windsor hotel, established in 1982, at their website. (Click HERE to be taken directly to it.)

Complete your registration below.  You will receive an email within 24 hours with confirmation of your reservation as well as payment instructions.