Augusta city leader addresses food insecurity during holidays

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 11:33 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Community development is a big topic in the historic Laney Walker and Harrisburg neighborhoods.

Developers are working on that major project called “The Hub” that will host a Boys & Girls Club headquarters and new outreach center. It’s designed to pull the community together.

But community development wouldn’t be complete without addressing food insecurity.

Food insecurity is an issue far too many communities experience. One Augusta commissioner took the opportunity to come from behind the desk to help address a need that’s been a problem for years.

Thanksgiving is Thursday, and food insecurity is still at high levels here at home. One in seven people are struggling to get enough to eat, and the Golden Harvest Food Bank says the need is 15 percent higher compared to what they saw pre-pandemic.

“There is a need and there’s been a need in this district for decades,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson, District 1.

Johnson says the need to solve the food desert and food insecurity problem in his district is bigger now than ever.

“A need for a farmers market, a need for children to go, a need for community health clinics all these things are on the forefront of what we do to make sure Augusta is a better place. Especially Harrisburg, Laney Walker, Sand Hills neighborhoods,” he said.

Twenty-two of the 25 counties the food bank serves are listed as food deserts. And Johnson’s district falls in that category, too. So for the second year in a row, Johnson took to the streets of Oak Pointe, the neighborhood where he grew up, to give out hams for Thanksgiving.

“At the end of the day, giving away these hams is about more than just giving away hams it’s about giving back to the community folks who are working every day putting their hard-earned dollars into trying to live a good quality life,” said Johnson.

He’s hoping, this little bit helps make ends meet. After a tough year that saw Golden Harvest help 221,298 families from January to October alone.

“It’s been a rough year for many people and I would hope this contribution will help folks at least enjoy their holiday a little bit more,” he said.

If you’d like a free meal for Thanksgiving there are plenty of opportunities all week long starting Tuesday. You can head to Josey High School at 10 a.m. for the annual Feed the Community meal. The Augusta Worship Center and Oasis De Bendición will be giving out meals Tuesday night. Across the river, the New Ellenton Community Center has a drive-thru Thanksgiving feast from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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