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Bi-Lo unveils renovations, donations
Area agencies receive nearly $32,000 in grants
Morning Outreach volunteer Lauretha Best of the Original First African Baptist Church, right, chats with Joe Bill Brannen as he flips through the appointment/signup sheet which is filled up through March 21st of 2012. Bi-Lo is a major contributor to the program which distributes about 40 boxes of food per week. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    After several months of renovations, Bi-Lo officially unveiled the new look of the inside of its store off Northside Drive Wednesday, and the grocery chain also used the occasion to announce about $32,000 in grants to area groups.
    “We are excited about our renovations and privileged and honored to reward local agencies for their outstanding efforts to better their communities,” said Terrell Kelly, district manager for Bi-Lo.
    Three Bulloch County groups received grants from Bi-Lo Charities totaling $5,630. Southeast Bulloch Middle School was awarded $500, the Georgia Southern University Foundation $1,395 and the Food Bank $3,735.
    “This grant will help support primarily our morning outreach program,” said Joe Bill Brannon, director of the Statesboro Food Bank.
    The Food Bank moved into the old Sallie Zetterower Elementary School cafeteria earlier this year, and Brannon said he operates the morning outreach out of his old trophy shop on East Olliff Street.
    Brannon said the outreach gives away sacks of food Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 and 11 a.m. He said the program helps about 160 area families and doesn’t require the paperwork necessary for families or individuals to receive USDA food.
    “Without help from Bi-Lo, we would have to shut down the morning outreach program,” Brannon said. “Bi-Lo is the only store in Statesboro that gives us free food, which we use for the packages we give out at the Olliff Street store.”
    Also receiving Bi-Lo Charities grants were two agencies in Candler County. Communities in Schools of Candler County and the Bridge Outreach Center each were awarded $1,330.
    Communities in Schools helps identify students at-risk for dropping out and assists them with basic resources like providing meals, shoes and offers tutoring and a mentoring program, said director Jamie Riggs.
    The Bridge offers help to families of the at-risk students with an afterschool program and works with the Backpack Buddies that provide weekend meals through the help of area churches. Riggs is a Board member for the Bridge.
    “It wouldn’t be possible to keep these programs running without grants like the ones from Bi-Lo,” Riggs said. “We receive public support, but these grants ensure we can offer services to as many students and their families, as possible.”
    Bi-Lo Charities was founded in 1983 and has donated more than $58 million to charitable groups since its inception.
    James Healy can be reached at (912) 489-9402.

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