Department of Agriculture grant brings food access to rural counties

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:55 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’ve been reporting on the growing need for food throughout our area since the pandemic.

With inflation causing record food prices our local YMCA’s say the need has only grown.

Relief could be on the way for our rural counties with an over $300,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The money will help get food to areas, like Burke and Lincoln counties.

Crates are full of bags containing enough food to feed a family of four, multiple times. They’re then loaded into vans and sent into rural communities.

Leaders say it’s making their effort to combat food insecurity even easier.

“We’re able to get that out into those outlying counties where the rural communities desperately need the food to come to them and not necessarily them come to the food,” said Cheryl Wirt, chief financial officer.

They’ll be able to distribute those meals to Burke, Jefferson, Lincoln, McDuffie, and Barnwell counties where food resources are not as readily available.

“Rural communities are further away from where the food sources are so it definitely is going to help us be able to bridge that gap,” said Wirt.

The key to reaching these rural communities: the new vehicles that the grant money provides.

“We’ve needed vehicles to be able to distribute the food to those outlying counties for the last several years. We’ve been renting vehicles and that’s pretty costly, so just to have our own vehicles is just something that we’re really excited about,” she said.

Meal delivery is not a new idea.

“We’ve been doing mobile food distributions all throughout the pandemic it started probably summer of,” said Wirt.

She says the pandemic highlighted the need for food and them providing it to families without transportation.

“We have the ability now to bring the food to them and that’s what we will continue to do. It’s where the food is needed,” said Wirt.

This will help them serve more than just kids, but also their families as the money is also being used to purchase food.

The grant acts as a reimbursement. Once the other vehicles are added to the lineup, they will receive the funding.

Other areas getting funds from the USDA include Glascock, Hancock, Taliferro, Warren, and Washington counties.

They’ll use the money on lab equipment, COVID testing, and other pandemic-related costs.

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