During the last meetings of both the Statesboro City Council and Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, city and county leaders committed a collective $1 Million to build a new Statesboro Food Bank. Each municipality will contribute $500,000 in funds received last year through the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA for the acquisition of property and construction of the new facility.

In a memorandum of understanding between the three parties, officials acknowledged a need for the food bank’s ongoing efforts to combat food security issues throughout Statesboro and Bulloch County.

According to documents obtained from the City of Statesboro, the funds will first be used to purchase a parcel of land on Highway 80 West near the intersection with Miller Street Extension. This site will become the food bank’s permanent home, with remaining funds being used for land preparation and construction costs.

The future home of Statesboro Food Bank, Inc., on Highway 80 West. Source: Bulloch County Tax Assessor

The food bank, founded in 1988, currently operates in the former Julia P. Bryant Elementary School building on Donnie Simmons Way. However, according to a memo from City Attorney Cain Smith, “[the former school] site is not appropriate for installation of a permanent… facility due to physical constraints and likelihood of conversion… to residential use.” Grice Connect previously reported the proposed development of affordable senior housing at this location.

As part of the agreement between the entities, the food bank agreed to “reconstitute its Board membership to better represent different segments of the community” and allow both municipalities to appoint voting ex-officio Board members through the end of construction.

The memorandum also calls for some administrative changes within the organization, including hiring an executive director. According to officials, their goal is to source and hire an executive director with experience in managing a food bank operation, in addition to grant writing and fundraising experience.

No operating funds have been committed by either the City or County as part of this agreement – only capital funds that can be used to build the facility.

In this 2021 photo, GSU students from the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity help to unload donated food at Statesboro Food Bank.
Credit: Statesboro Food Bank

In a Facebook post after the meeting, food bank manager Jodi Brannon expressed her gratitude to local officials for giving life to this project. She also paid tribute to the non-profit’s “most passionate volunteer” – her late father, President Emeritus Joe Bill Brannon, who passed away in 2019. “Today is hard,” she said, “but I feel him smiling and thanking all the supporters, big and small.”

At this time, there is no projection for when construction of the new facility will be complete. Stay connected with Grice Connect for updates on this developing project.

Bobby NeSmith

Bobby NeSmith

Bobby NeSmith is a Bulloch County native who enjoys connecting with our community. He first discovered his love for media at Portal High School and is known for his thoughtful and engaging contributions...