Golden Harvest Food Bank hosts groundbreaking, expanding Augusta warehouse

·2 min read

Jul. 29—Golden Harvest Food Bank, which serves 25 counties for food insecurities across Georgia and South Carolina, is renovating and expanding.

The food bank held a groundbreaking ceremony at its Augusta headquarters at 3310 Commerce Drive.

The two-phase project will add a welcome area, larger packing and volunteer areas. Across the street, a new produce rescue center will be built to close the estimated 8 million meal gap.

"This is a 40-year organization that has experienced tremendous growth over the past 40 years, and this is just the next phase," Golden Harvest President and CEO Amy Breitmann said. "It's the future of the food bank; and to stand here amongst people who have been involved for so many years and with the blessing of our past executive directors, it just feels like it is the next obstacle toward feeding the hungry."

Golden Harvest Food Bank has been working on the renovation project over the past year.

After receiving donations from the philanthropy organization Mackenzie Scott and a Georgia Department of Community Affairs CARES grant for $3.7 million, a large portion of funding was used to kickstart the expansion.

"These improvements are exciting and much needed, and the bottom line is that they will allow us to better support our community partners and neighbors who rely on us," Breitmann said. "We need our community supporters more than ever as we look to the future for those who serve."

Brian Ellefson, board chair at Golden Harvest, is happy to see the project come to fruition.

"Hopefully, we are hoping to bridge that gap so we are keeping up with demand that the food insecurities and the families and neighbors that are in need have a solution and they know exactly where to go and how to find us," Ellefson said.

Breitmann hopes that the efficiency coming with the expansion and renovation project brings a large impact to the food bank's community service mission.

"We have an 8 million meal gap in our service area, so that means 8 million meals are not being served that need to be served to the food insecure," Breitmann said. "With inflation happening right now, with gas prices and grocery prices and housing costs, more people than ever are needing our services and are finding themselves in need of food for the first time, just stretching their dollars. This will make a tremendous impact in the amount of food we are able to bring in to sort and to get out straight to our neighbors that need it."

Golden Harvest Food Bank is looking to locally fundraise $2 million to complete the project.

To learn more about donating or volunteering, visit the Golden Harvest website at goldenharvest.org.

Samantha Winn covers the city of North Augusta, with a focus on government and community oriented business. Follow her on Twitter: @samanthamwinn and on Facebook and Instagram: @swinnnews.