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Food Bank hires local group to plan $5 million project

A local charitable organization has received a $3.7 million grant that will help to feed the hungry in the CSRA.

Golden Harvest Food Bank is one of eight food banks throughout Georgia that has received a Department of Community Affairs Grant, which will be administered locally by the Augusta Economic Development Authority. The grant was funded by the CARES Act – a law that was passed in response to the pandemic. Golden Harvest will use the funds to cover 75% of the construction costs for a two-story, 30,000-square-foot building on its Augusta campus located at 3310 Commerce Drive. The new building will be used as a produce distribution center, according to Amy Breitmann, the organization’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re kind of in the planning stages,” says Breitmann. Golden Harvest has hired Cheatham Fletcher Scott Architects + Designers in Augusta to help with the planning and design of the estimated $4.9 million warehouse.

Golden Harvest Food Bank provides food to residents of 25 counties throughout the CSRA. (Photo provided by Golden Harvest Food Bank)

To make room for the distribution center, the nonprofit will have one of the buildings on their property demolished. She states that building was constructed in 1965 and doesn’t have the refrigeration and freezer capacity they need to store produce and meat. “It doesn’t have dock space for trucks,” Breitmann explains. The new warehouse will also house Golden Harvest’s Community Impact Team, which provides training and support for a variety of feeding initiatives, such as the BackPack Program. The nonprofit receives support from many corporate partners, including Amazon, Leidos, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, and Georgia Power.

She says the number of people affected by hunger has increased substantially due, in part, to rising food and housing costs. “Locally, new waves of people have food needs,” Breitmann states. Golden Harvest wants to “help people through this really trying time, which has been the pandemic,” she explains.

The nonprofit relies on its staff and volunteers to pack food that will be distributed to those in need. (Photo provided by Golden Harvest Food Bank)

Construction is expected to begin in mid-2022 and should be completed in 2023. She says they hope to use local contractors. “The bid process will be handled by our architect,” Breitmann adds. They don’t have an exact timeline for construction, but the organization will move as quickly as possible to complete the construction project.

Golden Harvest partnered with the City of Augusta to secure the grant funding. “The city was the lead applicant,” she states.

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