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Food Bank needs groceries
Brannon: Demand high and regional food source citing supply chain issues
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Food Bank of Statesboro operations director Jodi Brannon surveys empty shelves following a delivery from Walmart on Wednesday, March 8. The Food Bank is currently low on food resources. "These rooms are normally packed this time of year," says Brannon. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

The manager of Statesboro’s Food Bank says it is in dire need of donations of nonperishable packaged and canned foods because its regional source of deeply discounted USDA and state nutrition-assistance food is citing supply chain issues while many local families are still facing food insecurity.

“The Food Bank is dangerously low on food resources,” Jodi Brannon, operations director of Statesboro-based nonprofit Food Bank Inc., said Tuesday. “You know we got some fairly good donations in as we always do in the holiday season, and usually that sustains us through till the early spring.”

But now those donated food supplies are dwindling fast, she said.

She still looks forward to the National Association of Letter Carriers’ food drive for a boost of late spring foodstuffs, she said. But Brannon hasn’t heard from local organizers of that traditional annual event, and it’s not scheduled to occur until May 13, anyway.

Tuesday, Brannon said, she called America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, the Savannah-based regional food bank, to inquire about U.S. Department of Agriculture and Georgia Nutrition Assistance Program foods usually available for “pennies  on the dollar.” In government parlance, Statesboro’s “Food Bank” is actually a food pantry, which can purchase these items from the regional food bank.

“They just don’t have the availability,” she said. “I called them today, and they cited supply-chain issues.”

Second Harvest does have foods available requiring refrigeration or freezer storage, Brannon said. However, Statesboro’s Food Bank Inc., which is still occupying part of the old Julia P. Bryant School while awaiting the city and county’s planned construction of a dedicated food pantry building, has very limited refrigerator or freezer space.

But discounted nonperishable canned and dry foods currently “are just not there to purchase” from Second Harvest, she said, adding that she did not get a definite answer on when this may change.

Statesboro’s Food Bank also receives regular donations of fresh food and vegetables from local grocery stores. But these items “go straight out the door” on the days they arrive to hungry people, Brannon said. So, it is the nonperishable items the charity needs most.

 

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Dylan Beck, front, and Trey Arrington unload a delivery from Walmart at the Food Bank of Statesboro on Wednesday, March 8. The bank is currently experiencing a shortage of food resources. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Families in need

“Right now …  approximately 200 families per month are coming to the Food Bank to get a one-week emergency supply of food, based on three meals a day, hopefully as much nutritionally balanced as we can provide, with fruits, vegetables, grains and protein,” Brannon said.

This equates to about 750 family members, and a total of approximately 15,750 meals per month, she noted.

“I don’t think people understand that that’s how many meals we actually provide,” Brannon said.

Families and individuals in need receive food by appointment only, four days each week.

 

To donate

The Food Bank, in the old school at 400 Donnie Simmons Way, is usually staffed from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. those same four days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To offer a donation, call 912-489-3663.

“What would be most helpful to us at this point is to ask your Sunday school group, ask your ball team, ask anywhere we’ve got a gathering of people and everybody brings three or four items. … It doesn’t have to be expensive stuff, and I also have a list of most-needed items on our website,” Brannon said.

The address is http://statesborofoodbank.org.

To get the most donatable food for your dollars, she suggests shopping at discount stores such as Big Lots, Ollie’s and Dollar Tree and other stores that have “on-sale, store-brand items.”


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