The mess of sorting through items and packing them is driving Jo Ann Cobb crazy.
Columbia County Cares volunteers Loretta Lang (from left) Nora Clay, Nola Green and agency director Jo Ann Cobb pack boxes at the food pantry in Appling.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"This place is a mess," said Cobb, the administrator of the Columbia County Cares food pantry. "It makes me very upset and nervous. I like to have things nice and orderly, and we are making it a big mess because we are trying to pack up stuff."
Still, Cobb said the stress is worth it because the pantry is getting a new, larger home in February. The pantry has operated out of a small building at 6345 Columbia Road in Appling since opening in 1997.
The pantry, a nonprofit organization that provides temporary emergency relief to the unemployed, underemployed, the elderly on fixed incomes and single parents, will be moving Feb. 4 to 1959 Appling-Harlem Highway, which is the former Columbia County Tax Assessor's office.
"We are a safety net for a lot of people to get back on their feet. That is the whole purpose," said David Titus, the president of the pantry's board of directors. "For the most part, we are emergency care for those who are suffering a financial setback."
The pantry, along with the county, has grown from serving roughly 270 families a month in 2002 to more than 300, Titus said.
"We're only in one building, but we have got three rooms," Cobb said.
" Our new facility will have a lot more room. We'll be able to serve our clients a lot better and probably more efficiently."
Volunteers are needed at the new location Feb. 5 to help complete the finishing touches before the pantry's official opening Feb. 8.
Titus said the pantry will share a warehouse with the Columbia County Foundation for Children.
A walk-in cooler and freezer will enable the pantry to receive larger orders of bulk items from the Golden Harvest Food Bank.
"(Now) we have to limit our quantities, and we have to keep them in freezers we have all over the place," Titus said. "That's the beauty of (this project) ... We're going to have the ability to expand and serve more people in the future, too."
The pantry is a public-private partnership involving the Columbia County government, which owns both the pantry's new and old locations. Revenues from the county's one-cent sales tax will help pay for renovations to the new location, Titus said.
"It is a win-win situation through a public-private partnership," Titus said. "We are an ecumenical mission supported by 26 churches right now in Columbia County. So it is a great thing for our government to be able to help people in this manner."
The new location - across from the Appling courthouse behind the old jail - will maintain the same hours of operation: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.
To volunteer or for more information, call the pantry at 541-2834.
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