Homegrown Help

On Wednesday, Second Harvest of South Georgia and AgGeorgia Farm Credit announced Homegrown Help, a new joint initiative to combat the effects of COVID-19 in the area. The Farm Credit cooperative is a long-time supporter of the food bank’s work, but Homegrown Help marks the first partnership between the two organizations. Click HERE to give today!

Disasters and emergency situations like the COVID-19 outbreak compound our existing food insecurity crisis. The pandemic and related closures have drastically increased the need for food assistance in South Georgia. Since March, Second Harvest has distributed double the amount of food it had in 2019 – an additional 2 million meals worth. The need is only anticipated to grow as unemployment benefits run out later this summer.

South Georgia’s agriculture community has likewise been hit incredibly hard. With schools and restaurants closed, our area growers have few market outlets. They have seen too much supply and not enough demand. Few processing options exist in the region to extend the shelf life of these valuable crops.

This is where Homegrown Help comes in – to benefit not just the families needing food but also our area farmers. Funds raised will go to purchase Georgia Grown produce; in turn, the food bank will provide these nutritious fruits and vegetables to families in need. AgGeorgia Farm Credit, as co-founder of this campaign, has committed $25,000 to this initiative as part of a larger $50,000 total donation to regional food banks in their service area. Second Harvest anticipates many local individuals and businesses will want to contribute to this fundraising campaign and has several large donors who have already expressed interested. Individuals can donate by texting “HOMEGROWN” to 619-870-1680, or by going to www.feedingsga.org.

“We really appreciate AgGeorgia and Second Harvest partnering together on this,” said Justin Corbett of Corbett Brothers Farms, long-time produce growers in Lake Park, Georgia. “For many years we have supported Second Harvest and understand the great benefit that they provide in our community. We are also proud to be a member of an organization like AgGeorgia Farm Credit that is willing to step in to help in times like these.”

For Second Harvest and AgGeorgia, the project was the perfect fit and opportunity to work together.

“We are thrilled to partner with Second Harvest on this campaign, and we invite other organizations and individuals to support this effort,” said AgGeorgia Farm Credit Board Chairman Dave Neff. “It is wonderful to be able to get local produce to families in need while simultaneously supporting Georgia farmers.”

“We are so excited about Homegrown Help because of the positive impact it will have not just on our neighbors in need but on the farmers who live, work, and worship right here in South Georgia,” added Eliza McCall, Second Harvest of South Georgia’s Chief Marketing Officer.

Volunteers – COVID

Second Harvest needs volunteers daily at our Valdosta location beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 8:30 AM to assist with things like packing emergency pantry boxes. This will differ from our normal volunteer specifications. PLEASE read the following details on this process.

  1. We will be limiting to 50 volunteers each day. These volunteers will be working in small, distanced groups.
  2. Volunteers MUST email SHurst(AT)FeedingSGA.org or call (229) 244-2678 x 1102 to register. You will receive email confirmation of your registration. Please do NOT show up unless you receive this confirmation.
  3. Volunteers must be between the ages of 13 and 55.
  4. Volunteers must:
    • be in good health and exhibiting no symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, congestion, etc.)
    • not have been in contact with someone suspected of carrying COVID-19
    • not be in regular direct contact with a high-risk population (elderly, immuno-compromised, those who’ve traveled to high risk areas)
    • be able to stand for several hours at the time
    • be able to lift more than 20 pounds
  5. Volunteers will be screened for symptoms as they enter the building.
  6. Volunteers will be required to wear gloves while handling the food.
  7. Volunteers must NOT wear open toed shoes or tank tops.

Second Harvest of South Georgia will be taking precautions to ensure the safety of our volunteers, our staff, and the clients we serve. Cleanliness and safety are mainstays of our operation, but we will be santizing and disinfecting frequently. We are in contact with South Health District of DPH and will continue to monitor and implement best practices for the health and safety of our community.

TH Kickoff Info & Reminders

Hi everyone! Here are some details and reminders for Kickoff.  Please read this ENTIRE document carefully. 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, Hannah and Eliza will not be able to respond to calls, texts,  Facebook posts/messages, or emails until the end of each day.

• Teachers Harvest is located at 1411 Harbin Circle, Valdosta, GA 31601.  The entrance is at the rear of the building.  Parking is located in the grass lots behind the building ONLY.   Do NOT park in any of the paved areas (street, cul de sac, loading dock, front parking lot).  Parking in the front of the building is reserved for Second Harvest staff and food bank partner agencies.  PLEASE consider carpooling as parking is limited.

• You must present credentials to participate.

        o If we have a 2018-19 staff roster for your school, you only need to bring your photo ID. We will be posting a list of which schools have sent in rosters in our TH Facebook group.

      o If we do NOT have a roster for your school, 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.

• 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).

• You may bring a guest or helper to assist you with boxes.  We cannot guarantee that we will have adequate volunteers to assist everyone.

• Bring water, sunscreen, snacks, etc.  We are doing and will continue to do our best to minimize your wait, but some standing in line is unavoidable. 

• There are NO appointment times.  If you are on the confirmed Opening Day registration list, you may come any time during that day.  If you registered for one of the other days, you may may come any time during the remainder of Kickoff.  Eligible teachers may also come during the remainder of the week without registering online.

• Keep in mind that inventory will be the same all week.  You don’t have to be the first one in line to get good items.

• The last shopper each day will be taken 30 minutes prior to closing.  The line will be cut off at that point.

• You may shop ONE time during Kickoff. 

• Our building is a working warehouse.  We ask that you use good judgment with regards to safety.  There will be large trucks and heavy machinery at work within the building and on our campus at all times during the day.  Be aware of your surroundings.

 

Giving Tuesday

After we have a day of thanksgiving and three days dedicated to shopping, we have a day dedicated to giving back to others. This Giving Tuesday you have the opportunity to help those in need in our community. By making a donation to Second Harvest of South Georgia, you can have a tangible positive effect on the lives of our neighbors in need.

Make your donation online HERE or by check made payable to Second Harvest of South Georgia (mail to: 1411 Harbin Circle, Valdosta, GA 31601).

ANNOUNCING: CACFP SITE ADDITION

The Second Harvest of South Georgia (1411 Harbin Circle Valdosta, GA 31601) announces the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded Child and Adult Care Food Program.  The same meals will be available at no separate charge to enrolled participants at the centers listed below. In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; fax: (202) 690-7442; or email: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Contact Winona Green at (229) 469-6929 for more information.

CENTER and ADMINISTRATIVE SPONSORS:

Jr. Eagles Tutoring Program: – a program of Wings of Eagles, Inc.

300 S. Madison Avenue, Quitman, GA 31643

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services, Child Nutrition Programs – Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Price Meals are used to determine the rate that the center will be reimbursed for meals served in this program.                    

Hurricane Relief: Maria

Second Harvest of South Georgia is sending 1,200 boxes to families affected by Hurricane Maria.  For $20, you can sponsor a box that we will pack with shelf-stable foods and groceries and send hurricane devastated areas.  

Your support is invaluable 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 the volunteer event to pack these boxes in the near future. 

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.

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.

September is Hunger Action Month!

It’s Hunger Action Month!  We have events going on all month long to help raise awareness, food and funds to alleviate hunger in South Georgia.

Due to weather, we are delaying our official kickoff, but here’s a quick look at what we’ve got going on during the month of September.

Fill-A-Truck for Hunger sponsored by Southeastern Credit Union is a month-long food and fund drive to benefit our food bank. If our community can raise enough food (or monetary donations) to fill a truck, SCU will match that! Find out more here.

  • September 3-5: Wild Adventures BOGO Admission Days (with canned food donation to benefit SHSG)
  • September 8:  Fill-a-Truck Kickoff/Hunger Action Day at Southeastern Credit Union Headquarters
  • September 10:  Open Pottery Workshops for Empty Bowls at Turner Center for the Arts
  • September 12:  Spirit Night at Buffalo Wild Wings to Benefit Second Harvest
  • September 19:  Hunger in America Photography Exhibit/Empty Bowls Opening at Turner Center for the Arts
  • September 28:  CAN-tasia Canned Food Drive/Sculpture Event at VSU sponsored by PRSSA

Look for further details next week!  For more information email us at info@FeedingSGA.org or call 229-244-2678.