VALDOSTA, Ga. — The current headquarters for Second Harvest of South Georgia was built in 1996, and in less than 30 years they've outgrown it.
That's why they decided to build a new facility. It will not only help them be more efficient but it will help them serve the community better.
Sandra Tooley is the founder of the South Street Community Carehouse, which is a partner organization with Second Harvest of South Georgia.
"It does my heart good, you know I enjoy this, I work as a nurse, and I love that job too but this is my joy," said Tooley.
She started the organization in 2010 to help children who were hungry, now it's expanded to much more than that.
"It started booming, we had maybe 57 people a day, to now we do it twice a week and I think our lowest number each day is 800 people," said Tooley.
While Second Harvest of South Georgia provides produce and meat to South Street Community Carehouse, Second Harvest is feeling the pain of being in a 27 year old building.
Eliza McCall, Chief Programming Officer for Second Harvest South Georgia says, that was especially felt during the pandemic.
"We were not able to separate work functions to protect us against cross contamination, we just did not have enough space, and right now we're stepping all over each other," McCall explained.
Through CARES Act funding, the department of community affairs, and an $18 million grant from Lowndes County Board of Commissioners they're able to start the building process.
The new building will have more dry and cold storage, they'll also be able to establish more senior meal programs, and more.
"We will be able to increase the number of volunteer groups that we serve, we will have space for other community groups to come in and have meetings, and we are looking forward to adding additional sites to our kids cafe program so that we can increase the amount of kids that we're serving," said McCall.
The new facility is still in the early stages of construction and is expected to be done by Christmas of 2024. Until then they're still serving the community and organizations like South Street Community Carehouse.
Tooley says for people who are struggling, it's okay to accept help when you need it.
"I just want to say to people just open up, just realize it's just somewhere for you to go, don't be embarrassed to come, we treat everyone just the same," said Tooley.
South Street Community Carehouse is always looking for volunteers, you can contact Sandra Tooley at (229) 834-0979 for more information.