VALDOSTA -- Feeding the mass of volunteers for the upcoming, week-long Jimmy Carter Work Project starting on June 7 falls to America's Second Harvest of South Georgia.

Second Harvest's involvement with the JCWP began last fall when Habitat for Humanity realized it needed someone with experience feeding thousands of people in a large sitting, said Frank Richards, Second Harvest executive director and chief executive officer. Second Harvest's experience includes disaster relief during the flooding in Houston, Texas, and feeding the thousands of volunteers around the clock at the Twin Tower site in New York City on Sept. 11.

Second Harvest gave Habitat a budget that was approved by the Habitat committee, and Second Harvest went to work. Food for the week-long project came from donations and purchases amounting to more than $100,000.

The JCWP may start Saturday when Second Harvest begins the first breakfast for the volunteers on site, but it'll face its first challenge at the Lowndes High School Cafetorium at 7 p.m. Friday. Second Harvest chefs Lisa Berger and Winona Coats will prepare a pre-registration buffet for about 1,300 people, Richards said.

There are also two other functions and meals scheduled at the LHS cafetorium that will serve up to 1,300 people, to include the opening ceremonies on Sunday and the House Dedications held on June 13. Berger and Coats will prepare the hot buffet meals at the food bank commercial kitchen.

Along with preparing food, Second Harvest is also responsible at the JCWP for hygiene materials, storage, tents, tables, chairs and after-dark lighting. There are five storage semi-trailers at the site with one being refrigerated and another being a freezer filled with ice. It also has installed hand sinks in the field for the volunteers, Richards said.

Temperatures and humidity are expected be high, and a mist tent has been set up to cool down the workers, Richards said. The Second Harvest staff will also provide a tub with ice at each home with water and Powerade. Bananas for potassium and crackers for salt to assist them against the South Georgia summer will also be provided.

"We have seating for 1,300 with five seating tents and two buffet tents," Richards said.

The schedule for meals begins at 5 a.m. when a continental breakfast will be served. Lunch will follow at 11:30 a.m. with sandwiches. At 2 p.m. full snacks will be delivered to every site for the volunteers. At 4:30 p.m. Second Harvest will start serving a full hot buffet dinner. "There will be some great Southern cuisine served to our international volunteers," Richards said. "The buffet will be fantastic."

There will also be a food served from 7-9 p.m. for the sunset crew. Second Harvest also has been asked to prove beverages and snacks to the contractors and volunteers on site up until midnight.

In all, Second Harvest is expected to prepare about 33,800 meals to support the JCWP. "While this is all going on, the food bank will still be running six Kids Cafes and distributing a half million pounds of food to 10 counties," Richards said.

"We want to thank Habitat for giving us the opportunity to work with them on this project," Richards said. "It's been a great learning experience for us. I also want to thank the food bank committee for coming together with over 200 meeting hours put into this project."

To contact report Rip Prine, please call 244-3400, ext. 237.

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