(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 [email protected] or call 229-244-2678.

Help Us Meet Our Goal & Double Your Impact!

Hunger is a tremendous problem in South Georgia. 1 in 4 people struggle with hunger on a daily basis.   The situation is worse for our area children; 1 in 3 children don’t know where they’ll get their next meal. Our area has the highest rates of food insecurity in the state and is among the highest in the nation.Handprints

Hunger is a health problem, an educational problem, and an economic problem. While most of us will not feel the physical effects of hunger each day, it is suffering for which we all pay. The effects of hunger and lack of adequate nutrition are both immediate and long-lasting, plaguing the body, childhood development, and our regional economy. Estimates place the cost of childhood hunger at $542 per person annually. That means that hunger in just our children costs the people of South Georgia more than $400 million per year.

Second Harvest of South Georgia is already much more than just a food bank; we are a community leader and innovator having grown from a borrowed basement space in Valdosta to four distribution centers (Thomasville, Albany, and Douglas) covering nearly 13,000 square miles and 30 counties. We work with more than 400 partner charities across the area including domestic abuse shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens.  Our mission is feeding those in need, and our vision is a South Georgia without hunger.

Second Harvest is taking the steps necessary in order to bring about the lasting change in our area which will make our vision a reality.   We are leading the charge to combat hunger in our area, but we need your help.

The Williams Family Foundation has given us a very generous challenge grant. If we raise $500,000 in gifts and pledges toward the cost of our recently completed Thomasville facility in the 8 counties served by this new branch by December 31, 2016, they will donate an additional $500,000. This is an opportunity which we cannot miss – the chance to double the investments of our donors.  We can do this with your support.

You can help us capitalize on this tremendous opportunity!

We’re asking you to make a 5X5 commitment$500 a year over the next 5 years.  Or make a one-time gift!

Click HERE to make your pledge today!

Email us at [email protected], call (229) 469-6925, or by mail at 1411 Harbin Circle, Valdosta, GA 31601.

Make a one-time online donation here.


Thank you for your continued support! We are making strides in the fight against hunger but we couldn’t do it without your help.


Pledge Form

Call for Volunteers: Thanksgiving for Thousands

Our Valdosta branch is in need of volunteers to help distribute food to those in need at our Thanksgiving for Thousands event next Tuesday, November 24.

Volunteers are needed between 7:30-11 am at Valdosta High School.  The work will involve standing for several hours at a time and moderate lifting.  Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

Contact us at [email protected] or (229) 244-2678 to register to participate.

Come help us share Thanksgiving blessings with families in need. You’ll be #thankful that you did!

#Spoontember is Hunger Action Month!

This September, Second Harvest and the rest of the Feeding America network are making the spoon the central icon for Hunger Action MonthTM.

We have launched SpoontemberTM, a social media activation to engage the public and help raise awareness of the 1 in 4 South Georgians (and  1 in 6 Americans) struggling with hunger. Spoontember supporters can share a ‘spoon selfie’ – an image of themselves balancing a spoon on their nose – along with hunger-related statistics and challenge a friend to do the same.

It’s easy to share a ‘spoon selfie’ and support Hunger Action Month:

  • Grab a spoon
  • Do your best to balance it on your nose
  • Take a picture of your ‘spoon selfie’
  • Post the image to your social media accounts to raise awareness and tag a friend to do the same. Here is some sample copy to get your started:
    • I’m taking a spoon selfie to raise awareness for the 1 in 4 in South Georgia struggling with hunger. I challenge (name) to join me! #Spoontember #HungerActionMonth @SecondHarvestSGA @FeedingAmerica
    • Join me and take a #Spoontember selfie to raise awareness for the 1 in 4 in our community facing hunger! #HungerActionMonth @FeedingAmerica @SecondHarvest
  • Use #Spoontember and #HungerActionMonth to help fuel the movement and don’t forget to tag Second Harvest and Feeding America.

Hunger Free Summer for Kids

Back-to-school is always an exciting time for kids, parents, and teachers alike.  In South Georgia many kids feel relief instead of excitement; they are relieved to know they’ll be getting their next meal.  It happens far too often across our community – children go hungry during the summer without the stability of school lunch and breakfast programs.  With 1 in 3 children in our area struggling with food insecurity, summer isn’t a holiday for lots of families.

Second Harvest of South Georgia and Feeding America are working with our members of Congress to affect some much-needed change in the way the federal government helps fund child feeding programs.  There are no one size fits all solutions; organizations need the ability to tailor programs to meet the particular challenges of their specific area.  Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduced the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act which would allow some of that flexibility.

You can help us bring about the policy change that we need to make sure children in our community are fed.  Contact Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and let them know that South Georgia’s children deserve programs which are designed to meet their needs.  Ask them to support the Hunger Free Summer for Kids Act!

Contact them today!

Senator Johnny Isakson: (202) 224-3643  EMAIL   Facebook   Twitter

Senator David Perdue: (202) 224-3521    EMAIL  Facebook  Twitter


For more information on the bill, click here.



Our Elected Officials


Senator Johnny Isakson: (202) 224-3643  EMAIL   Facebook   Twitter

Senator David Perdue: (202) 224-3521    EMAIL  Facebook  Twitter


House of Representatives:

Representative Rick Allen: (202) 225-2823    EMAIL   Facebook   Twitter
Representative Sanford Bishop: (202) 225-3631   EMAIL   Facebook   Twitter
Representative Buddy Carter: (202) 834-0386    EMAIL   Facebook   Twitter
Representative Austin Scott: (202) 225-6531   EMAIL   Facebook   Twitter

Help Fight Hunger in South Georgia at Turner’s

100Year Logo (Medium)

Turner’s 100th Anniversary $100,000 Charitable Donation has just begun! Here’s what you need to do to take part and help fight hunger in South Georgia:

Customers register in store March 2015 – December 2015 for a chance to win a share of $100,000 in free furniture. Drawings held monthly with 28 winners per month. There will be winners from all 10 Turner’s locations. The winning individuals then choose a qualified charity to receive a matching cash donation from Turner’s. You can help by choosing Second Harvest of South Georgia as your charity!

Monthly winning breakdown:
-One $5,000 winner…$5,000 donation to individual’s charity of choice
-One $1,000 winner…$1,000 donation to individual’s charity of choice
-Two $500 winners…$500 donation to individuals’ charity of choice ($500 to each charity)
-Four $250 winners…$250 donation to individuals’ charity of choice ($250 to each charity)
-Twenty $100 winners…$100 donation to individuals’ charity of choice ($100 to each charity)

Each month, a total of $10,000 in FREE furniture will go to individuals and a total of $10,000 in cash to charities. By the end of the year, a total of $100,000 in FREE furniture will be given to individuals and $100,000 in cash will be donated to charities. Individuals can win one time throughout the duration of contest. There is no limit on how many times a charity can receive the matching donation.