Second Harvest of South Georgia's food pantry helps community rebound

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 18:55:17-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for food continues to grow.

A South Georgia food pantry is on the front lines feeding families so they too can have a chance to rebound.

"We've never seen anything like it and we have been doing disaster relief work for 20 years," said Eliza McCall, the chief marketing officer at Second Harvest of South Georgia.

When the pandemic hit, Second Harvest of South Georgia had to immediately change how they did things.

"We ramped up our mobile pantry program and since then we have been absolutely non-stop," McCall said.

They operate the majority of their distribution through about 450 partner charities, which either curbed their hours or shut down because of COVID-19.

"We have more than doubled our distribution since this same time last year," said McCall.

From March to June, McCall says they distributed 5.4 million meals worth of food, twice what they gave out at the same time last year.

With help from The National Guard and Georgia State Defense Force and volunteers who say, despite the heat and hard work at the distribution lines, they are happy to help.

"To help like this, hands-on every day, this is amazing to me," said Q'Nealus Bell, a PFC in the Army National Guard.

McCall says Second Harvest is cautiously optimistic about their food supply. As COVID-19 cases surge and unemployment benefits end she anticipates the need going up and has a message for the community.

"The main thing we want people to know is, this may be the first time they have had to ask for help but we are here to help South Georgia as long as we can," McCall said.

Second Harvest of South Georgia has a referral line for anyone in need.

To get food distribution dates or more information about community resources, call 888-453-4143.