THOMASVILLE, Ga, May 14, 2014 -- USDA representatives today joined elected officials and supporters here to celebrate the opening of a Second Harvest of South Georgia regional food distribution facility.
“This project will significantly help South Georgia communities with the greatest needs,” said Rich Davis, USDA deputy administrator for community programs. “I am proud to highlight this facility as another example of how financing from Rural Development’s Community Facilities program helps rural residents get access to essential goods and services.”
USDA Rural Development awarded Second Harvest $5.2 million in Community Facilities loans to build the Thomasville facility. The 65,000-square-foot building includes a dry warehouse, cooler/freezer/cold dock space, a Kids Café kitchen and administrative spaces. It also features an indoor/outdoor marketplace, volunteer training work spaces and a multi-purpose room that community organizations can use.
Its commercial kitchen can produce up to 10,000 meals a day. The facility will have 5 million pounds of food for South Georgia residents at full food storage capacity.
Second Harvest of South Georgia is a Valdosta-based non-profit organization that serves a 30-county region. It has branches in Albany, Douglas and Thomasville. Second Harvest and its network of more than 400 partner agencies distribute more than 18.5 million pounds of food a year to needy families, children and seniors through a variety of programs including the Food Bank, Kids Café, Mobile Food Pantry, Farm to Family and Teachers Harvest.
Twenty-three of the counties in Second Harvest of South Georgia’s service area are low-income areas that USDA has targeted for extra resources and aid through the StrikeForce initiative. USDA launched StrikeForce in 2010 to reduce poverty by increasing investments in rural communities through intensive outreach and stronger partnerships with community leaders, businesses, foundations and other groups that are working to combat poverty.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
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