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Private aviation company helps local food bank prepare meals for the hungry

Many CSRA business leaders look forward to Masters Week because it gives them a chance to watch golf, go on vacation, or take some much-needed time off from work, but for Golden Harvest Food Bank, hunger never takes a vacation.

On Thursday, a team from Wheels Up, a New York-based private aviation firm, volunteered to prepare and serve meals at The Master’s Table Soup Kitchen & Urban Farm located at 702 Fenwick St. The Master’s Table serves hot meals to local residents 365 days a year.

Click on this link to view a video on the luxury service at the 2019 Masters, before Covid-19 hit. “We’re proud to be back; it’s our third year,” said Wheels Up Co-Founder, Gary Spitalnik. “The statistics are out there, and there are a lot of people who are food insecure.”

Gary Spitalnik, Wheels Up Co-Founder, is happy that he and his team are back for the third year serving meals at Golden Harvest.

The company donates meals to Feeding America through its Meals Up initiative.

The statistics are sobering. Golden Harvest provides food for families in a 25-county service area in Georgia and South Carolina, and in that service area, one in eight people and one in five children are food insecure. In Fiscal Year 2022, the non-profit organization provided 14 million pounds of food, the equivalent of nearly 12 million meals, to hungry families.

Golden Harvest President and CEO, Amy Breitmann said the demand for their services has increased by 23 percent, thanks to staggering inflation, which has caused the prices of gas, groceries, and other items to skyrocket. When children are out of school for spring break, more families visit The Master’s Table.

“We don’t ask any questions; we just serve them a hot meal,” Breitmann said. “The eyes of the world are on Augusta during the Masters Tournament; we don’t stop serving because of the tournament.”

LaDonna Doleman, Kitchen Manager for Golden Harvest Food Bank is thankful for the help from Wheels Up volunteers.

LaDonna Doleman serves as the soup kitchen’s kitchen manager.

“Wheels Up is a great organization, and we’re so grateful for them,” Doleman said.

She said The Masters’s Table will need more volunteers this week. Spitalnik said people around the world will be watching the tournament this week to find out who wins the green jacket.

“The real champions are at Golden Harvest,” he said.

For more information about Meals Up, visit wheelsup.com/wheelsupcares.

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