CSRA nonprofits need help as food banks pushed to brink
AUGUSTA, Ga. - As millions prepare for Thanksgiving feasts next week, food banks across the country say they’re getting pushed to the brink – and the CSRA is no exception.
Food bank CEOs say this is the worst rate of hunger they’ve seen in years, calling the level of need similar to past recessions.
For an idea of how high that need is, consider the fact that organizers expected to feed 4,000 people – twice as many as last year – during Thursday night’s Feast Before the Feast free meal served at locations across Augusta.
Food banks and other nonprofits in the CSRA are simply trying to serve more people with fewer resources.
MORE FROM NEWS 12:
- Local groups gear up to feed community for Thanksgiving
- CSRA organizations ask for Thanksgiving help as costs rise
Making it worse is high inflation that’s driven up food prices.
Golden Harvest Food Bank, which distributes 11 million meals a year in the CSRA, is seeing more and more families coming through the doors at the Master’s Table Soup Kitchen.
“Thousands of families across the CSRA are going into the holidays unsure of whether they are going to be able to put food on the table,” Golden Harvest President and CEO Amy Breitmann said. “Our job as a community and a food bank is to help stand in the gap for these families. Every $2 donation we receive helps us feed five people this holiday season.”
Golden Harvest says 1 in 6 children are food-insecure in the CSRA.
HOW TO HELP:
- Peanut butter and jelly, tuna, macaroni and cheese, and non-refrigerated milk are among the top needs of food banks.
- People can donate to Golden Harvest on its website. There’s a large button on their page that says “Donate.” If you can’t donate, then volunteer; it took 17,355 volunteer hours last year for Golden Harvest to complete its mission.
- For the Salvation Army of Augusta, you can visit its website, which has everything on the main page.
The Salvation Army of Augusta’s Center of Hope is also working through record numbers.
“We’re dealing with a significantly increased demand. We’re seeing two and a half times the amount of people this past year being fed and sheltered and double the food cost,” said Derek Dugan with the Salvation Army of Augusta.
Dugan says the shelter is changing day by day. The demographic has changed drastically since the start of the pandemic.
“It used to be 90%, 95% men in their middle ages. This shelter right now is sheltering more women and children than it is men,” said Dugan.
While the need is rising, companies and people are stepping up to help:
- Earlier this week, Golden Harvest said it’s gotten a $10,500 grant from Bank of America to bolster its Urban Farm, which provides 95% of its fresh produce to Master’s Table.
- Savannah River Mission Completion recently donated $5,000 to the food bank.
- Golden Harvest raised enough money during October’s “Spooky to Be Hungry” campaign to provide 1 million meals.
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