The Valdosta Daily Times
Most checks you see, even giant checks, are made out for a dollar amount, but on Friday, Winn-Dixie presented Second Harvest of South Georgia with a check made out for poundage. Specifically, 17,354 pounds, enough to feed over 11,000 people. That's the amount of food and other products that area Winn-Dixies, their vendors and their customers raised through the Winn-Dixie Hunger Relief program.
Starting on November 7 and running through December 24, local Winn-Dixies in Valdosta, Lake Park, Moultrie, Albany, and Americus, encouraged customers to make monetary and product donations.
“It's really just an extension of how Winn-Dixie already helps us,” said Doug Griner, Director of Volunteer Services and Food Drives at Second Harvest.
In 2012, Valdosta area Winn-Dixies gave 270,548 pounds of product to Second Harvest, part of the 14 million pounds of food and products Second Harvest got into the hands of people that needed it in 2012.
“It's something we hope to continue,” said Dennis Gaskins, store director for the Winn-Dixie at 3200 N. Ashley Street. Gaskins, along with District Director Tim Vaughn and Pricing Manager Mark Goodman, presented the giant food check to Griner.
“We really want to invest in our local community,” said Vaughn.
In the past year, local Winn-Dixies have supported several 5K races, as well as offering community school groups the opportunity to do bagging fundraisers in their stores.
It's important to note that while Winn-Dixie's donations to Second Harvest have been invaluable, there has also been a considerable amount of time donations on the other end.
“We had 20,000 volunteer hours in 2012,” said Griner. “Anyone that wants to volunteer time can call us at 229-244-2678 to schedule it. If they want to donate food or other products, they can drop it by 1411 Harbin Circle in Valdosta.”
Without people stocking the shelves at Second Harvest's four locations in Valdosta, Thomasville, Albany, and Douglas, the most important part of these donations would not have happened: food getting into the hands of people that need it.