Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Bank's a Credit to the Cause of Fighting Hunger; Salvation Army Food Bank Is the Only One in Its 15 Southern-State Territory

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Bank's a Credit to the Cause of Fighting Hunger; Salvation Army Food Bank Is the Only One in Its 15 Southern-State Territory

Article excerpt

Byline: terry brown

With beads of sweat breaking slowly across their brows, JoAnn Hughes and Linda Golf hoist boxes of macaroni and cheese and cans of vegetables into the back of the church van.

Every couple of weeks, the women drive from Hastings to the small warehouse in an industrial section of St. Augustine to restock the pantry at the Lord's Temple Church. They feed more than 300 people a hot meal with food provided from the Salvation Army Food Bank at their church's soup kitchen in the southern part of the county.

"This is the only hot meal many people might get in a week," said Hughes, who manages the soup kitchen. "If it weren't for the food bank, we simply couldn't afford to be in operation."

In existence for the past three years, the St. Augustine food bank is the only one of its kind in the 15 states of the Salvation Army's southern territory. Wayne Whitehead, manager of the 3,500-square-foot food bank, said the organization distributed more than 664,000 pounds of donated bulk food items in 2005 to more than 50 agencies throughout St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties.

The food bank's clients include St. Francis House homeless shelter, the St. Johns County Council on Aging, church-provided soup kitchens and various youth and elderly programs and shelters in the three-county area. To qualify, all receiving agencies are required to be non-profit organizations.

Whitehead said the food items received by the Salvation Army Food Bank come from a variety of sources, including many large corporations, as well as more localized charitable efforts.

"We are a branch of the Second Harvest Food Bank, the nation's largest charitable hunger-relief organization," Whitehead said. "We get a lot of discontinued stock items or near expiration date food items. Every once in a while, we do get to be a part of a new marketing campaign and will get items before they are released to the public. I love it when that happens."

Whitehead and his assistant Bob Brophil meticulously weigh and keep track of every item coming and going from the food bank. Whitehead said for every $1 of food the organization distributes, the food bank is able to provide $8 to $9 in the amount of food provided to the receiving agencies. …

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