More room, better parking and cold storage is in store for the Statesboro Food Bank as volunteers move the agency from its cramped quarters on Proctor Street Saturday to the old Sallie Zetterower school building at the intersection of Gentilly Road and East Jones Ave.
The Food Bank will occupy the school’s cafeteria and kitchen area, said Joe Bill Brannon, and he expects to be open Monday. Brannon is the agency’s vice president of procurement and self-proclaimed “chief go-fer and bottle washer.”
Brannon, a dedicated volunteer for the Food Bank for many years, said the agency outgrew the small cottage on Proctor Street” about four years ago.”
A recent agreement with the Bulloch County Board of Education after the new Sallie Zetterower Elementary opened on Cawana Road in January, allows the Food Bank to spread its wings. The move also will help volunteers better provide for those who need assistance in many ways, Brannon said.
There will be more storage and a walk-in cooler and freezer that will allow the Food Bank to accept more donations of perishable items. In the past, items donated such as milk, yogurt or fresh vegetables had to be dispensed quickly, he said.
Now, the cooler and freezer will allow large amounts of perishable foods to be stored and distributed more evenly throughout the community over a period of a week as opposed to a day, he said.
“We get 80 gallons of milk donated at one time, sometimes,” he said. “Now we can store it and not risk losing it.”
The new facility, which is leased until Dec. 31 for the sum of $1, has three times the amount of room as the older location, he said.
Volunteers have been busy all week cleaning and installing shelving units, waxing floors, and getting ready for the food to be moved.
“We have a whole slew of volunteers” coming to help, he said.
Many of the volunteers are local students, including members of the Southeast Bulloch JROTC Rifle Team. Lynn McIntosh, who volunteers along with her husband and children to help with Food Bank activities, said her son Marshall, 16, plans to help with the move Saturday.
When she learned of the pending move, she contacted the school and JROTC leaders and asked whether the team would be interested in helping.
Since part of the JROTC experience involves community service, the suggestion was welcomed, she said. “I thought they would enjoy helping.”
Brannon said he plans to split the groups of young volunteers in half – one half loading boxes of food from the old facility, and the other half unloading and storing them at the new place.
“We’ll let the old guys drive the trucks and the young ones load and unload,” he said.
The Statesboro Food Bank has been in the Proctor Street location for well over a dozen years, he said. The building is owned by the City of Statesboro, which leased the spot to the food bank for $1 a year, he said.
Monday, the Food Bank should be open for business at the old Sallie Z., and Brannon said he expects to offer consumers even more. “We’re expecting service to be even better with the bigger facility.”
The food bank accepts donated items to be distributed to those in need. Citizens with limited income and/or who have encountered financial difficulties can apply for a variety of services, including senior citizen food distribution, at the Food Bank, Brannon said.
Brannon said if anyone wants to donate items to the Food Bank or for more information, to call him on his cell at (912) 682-4144.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 912-489-9414.