Lowndes Co./SHSG Awarded $18M Grant

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  The regional food bank which serves 26 counties is in desperate need of a new headquarters to replace its outdated facility.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.

Teachers Harvest Reopens!

We are excited to announce that Teachers’ Harvest will reopen on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 3 pm. We will be open Tuesdays only for now. We will have specific rules in place due to COVID-19. Eligibility rules and shopping rules remain the same.

Teachers, guidance counselors or media specialists working in a public school in our service region are eligible to shop with us.   Your eligibility is based on your position and on the location of the school in which you work NOT where you reside.  Click HERE to see a map of our service area.

Please note that paraprofessionals, administrators and other staff are not eligible. Private schools, day care centers, preschools,  Headstart programs and homeschooling groups are also ineligible to participate.

For those who’ve never been before, you must bring proof of employment for the current school year; it must show your position at the school. Acceptable forms of proof include school ID (with title) or driver’s license with a letter from your administrator, faculty roster, contract (if it shows your position), etc. Pay stubs or contracts that only show certification level will not be accepted. For returning teachers, you can just sign-in when you get there. If you have changes to your registration, email Noel at [email protected]

Shopping begins at 3 pm. We will allow 10 people in at a time. All shoppers will be required to provide their own mask and wear it while they are in line or inside. Social distancing is required. You will have 15 minutes to shop and then our staff will take 5 minutes to disinfect and reset.

Entry times will be every 20 minutes from 3-6 pm. The final shoppers will enter at 5:40. You may shop once per month.

NO Buddy Box shopping is allowed for the foreseeable future.

There will be product available inside and outside the store. For more information on that, check out our Facebook group.

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: [email protected]. 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.