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Subway says thanks to Food Bank volunteers
Luncheon honors local charity
Food Bank Subway employee
A Subway employee sets up the free lunch, provided by Subway Restaurants of Statesboro, for volunteers of Food Bank Inc. Wednesday at Rebecca's Cafe inside the old Julia P. Bryant School, which houses the Statesboro Food Bank. - photo by JASON WERMERS/staff

Subway Restaurants of Statesboro recognized the staff and volunteers of the Statesboro Food Bank with a Subway luncheon last week to say “thank you” for their tireless efforts to help others all year long.
    The luncheon was part of the Subway Restaurants’ annual 12 Hours of Giving program. A Subway corporate press release about the program stated: “The program is designed to shed light on the numerous nonprofits who continue to need our help in a season that has become about presents and gift-giving.”
    The six Subway Restaurants, five in Statesboro and one in Brooklet, donate bread regularly to the Food Bank.
    Gary Davis, franchisee for the Bulloch County Subway Restaurants, said the restaurants bake bread throughout the day and, after a certain period of time, unsold bread is put aside for the Food Bank.
    “I just can’t say enough about Subway,” said Joe Bill Brannon, volunteer operations manager of Food Bank Inc. “They are a major supporter of the Food Bank. Bread is the staff of life. I don’t know anybody that’s hungry that won’t eat bread.
    “We give it to Food Bank customers,” he continued. “We use it in our Brown Bag for Seniors giveaway. We just served sloppy Joes in Rebecca’s Café.”
    Brannon references the Tuesday and Thursday free lunch program, served in the old Julia P. Bryant School location to anyone who shows up and signs in. Brannon said the Café feeds approximately 120 with that number rising to 200 when school is not in session, including this coming Tuesday.
    “The needs are there,” said Brannon of feeding the hungry.
    Davis and Subway employees were honored to serve the volunteers fresh-made subs and fresh-baked cookies.
“The volunteers of all these charities are out there, on the line, getting it done, and we decided to give them a treat,” he said.
    Brannon was thrilled to be able to thank his volunteers through the generosity of Subway.
    “We could not exist without our volunteers,” he said.
    One of those volunteers is Robert Martin, who said he picks up bread from Subway and Pizza Hut at least twice a week and delivers it to the Food Bank. Other volunteers retrieve surplus food from Wal-Mart and Bi-Lo regularly, as well as Longhorn and Olive Garden Restaurants and Uncle Shug’s Chicken Barn.
    Many of the volunteers attending the luncheon assist with the meal preparation for Rebecca’s Café. Local churches and a couple of Georgia Southern University groups, with the help of individual volunteers, alternate days to provide the lunches.
    “What’s touching is that you see all ages at the Café,” said Grace Ward, volunteer from First Baptist Church. “Families, elderly couples, children when school is out.”
    Gwen Littles, a neighborhood volunteer who assists regularly and knows many of the patrons by name, said, “People love to sit and socialize in our new location, now that we have the tables.”
 Littles, a caregiver until 11 each morning, hurries home to change after work in order to get to the Café in time to help.
    “I carry plates to the table, clean up, whatever I can do to help,” she said.
    Chris Van Tassell, a volunteer from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said of the church’s workers: “We try to involve our whole congregation. Families take turns cooking on-site, and we try to involve the kids. That’s how you learn to serve.
    “We’re here to love and take care of people,” Van Tassell added. “Some of those eating here will come up and ask, ‘Can I have some more meat? I haven’t had meat in weeks.’”
    When asked about continued Food Bank needs, Brannon responded that he currently has plenty of food for patrons, but is short on cash to pay the utility bills, pointing out that the move to the much-needed larger facility resulted in higher utility costs each month.
      
 
   

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