Food banks to lose thousands in food donations from Food Lion closings

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- In just a few weeks, several Food Lion grocery stores will close for good.

This will leave employees looking for new jobs and shoppers looking for a new grocery store, but the closings will also impact struggling families and those who help.

On the shelves and racks at the Golden Harvest Food Bank, you will notice some pink and white Food Lion labels.

"Our trucks go around every day and we pick up the product that is no longer usable at the grocery store," said Golden Harvest Food Bank Director of Special Projects Travis McNeal.

Bread, produce, meat. All foods left at closing time, which is a lot earlier these days.

"This is too early to close the grocery store," said one shopper about the new closing time of 6 p.m.

"A lot of us think that a lot of this food may go right into the garbage and it's disposed of, but it's not," McNeal said.

It goes right to the food bank and then to agencies.

"I'm really saddened by how it's going to affect our agencies," McNeal said.

That's because those agencies give this food to families in need.

McNeal said, "So this 141,000 pounds from these three stores is a great loss."

McNeal is talking about the three Columbia County Food Lion stores that are shutting their doors by February.

Take a look at those losses:
Golden Harvest Food Bank gets
48,800 pounds of food a year from Old Petersburg
34,400 pounds a year from North Belair Road
57,972 pounds a year from Evans to Locks Road

One pound of food feeds one person.

"That turns into 141,000 meals," McNeal said.

So while a couple now looks for another place to buy food, food banks in our area look for another partner to help put food on the table for thousands.

News 12 contacted Food Lion about this. Corporate tells us this:
"Food Lion is committed to assisting organizations in the Augusta, Ga., area and we will continue to have a strong presence in helping agencies that feed the hungry. Currently, our community relations team is in the process of making every effort to make sure we minimize any impact to affected agencies.

Based on our proactive outreach, our hope is to assist in reassigning stores to supplement any food products that they are picking up. Agencies can also apply for grant assistance through our Food Lion Charitable Foundation, and in some cases, purchase food at buyers' cost.

Again, we are going to continue to donate food to agencies in the Augusta area and be active in the community since we still have 23 stores in the area.

Benny L. Smith, Food Lion Spokesman "

The silver lining here is that the Golden Harvest Food Bank still has partnerships with the other Food Lion locations in the area plus various grocery stores. They are also counting on a future Walmart expected in 2013 and the new Costco to help fill the gaps.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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