Special CDBG-CV Grant to Help Build New Food Bank Headquarters
The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners and Second Harvest of South Georgia were awarded $18 million in grants to expand the capacity of the regional food bank through a new facility. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) provided the grants under the federal CARES Act for the Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) program. This once-in-a-lifetime investment in rural Georgia will enable the food bank to increase its reach and better serve those in need in Lowndes County and surrounding areas.
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the capacity of food banks statewide was stretched due to increased demand for food assistance. Second Harvest of South Georgia was no exception. The regional food bank which serves 26 counties is in desperate need of a new headquarters to replace its outdated facility. The current location, built in 1996, is not sized for or equipped to handle the scope of the hunger and disaster relief work that the organization is now being called upon to provide.
Recognizing the extraordinary challenges being faced by Georgia’s food banks, DCA saw an opportunity to address these needs by providing transformational funding for capital projects in rural areas. Lowndes County Board of Commissioners has long recognized that Second Harvest of South Georgia is critical infrastructure in the community. When approached about this potential grant, the County saw an opportunity to help the food bank expand their capacity and programming to meet the needs of the region for a lifetime. A $500,000 grant toward site infrastructure for the project is being provided by Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority.
“Lowndes County is pleased to have the resources available to partner with Second Harvest of South Georgia on their new state of the art food bank facility through DCA’s CDBG-CV grants,” said Chairman Bill Slaughter, Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. “It has been a true honor to watch the team at Second Harvest serve our community in the capacity they have throughout the years and especially in the last two years. With these grants, Second Harvest will truly transform their organization and allow them to reach even more families when in need.”
“The impact of an investment like this is a game changer, and we are blessed to have leadership in Lowndes County that embraces our future vision,” said Second Harvest CEO Frank Richards. “We will be able to grow programs that have been constricted by our current capacity and establish new programs to reach those who are slipping through the cracks of the safety net.”
The project is in the design phase, and construction is expected to begin this fall. Second Harvest of South Georgia will be announcing a capital campaign soon to raise the remainder of the funding needed to complete this project.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to feeding kids – especially in rural areas and given the challenges of pandemic and the supply chain. At the start of COVID-19, Congress gave the United States Department of Agriculture the authority to issue waivers to mitigate major problems facing nutrition program sponsors like non-profits and schools. Without those, we would not have been able to respond as we did – reaching children in need across South Georgia.
For example, these waivers allowed us to substitute white bread for wheat or 2% milk for skim if we were unable to source the required components. They also allow us to offer meals “grab & go” instead of requiring kids to congregate to eat on site. These waivers made it possible for us to double the number of meals and snacks we served.
That waiver authority will expire soon, but the issues we are facing will not. Program sponsors like Second Harvest and even our local school systems need these waivers to be extended in order to continue to feed children. A bipartisan piece of legislation (HR 6613) has been introduced to extend this authority.
Please contact your Member of Congress today and let them know you want to keep kids’ meals flexible. Ask them to support HR 6613.
To find out who your congressman is, click HERE.
House of Representatives: South Georgia
Our Teachers Harvest will be closed on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, due to staffing issues.
Teachers’ Harvest is normally open on on Tuesdays from 3:30-6:30 pm and the first Saturday of the month from 9-12.
Please note that these are the final giveaway events for 2021. For more information on our child nutrition packs, watch this video!