Nonperishable groceries once destined for the Richmond County landfill were donated Wednesday to Golden Harvest Food Bank.
Three large trash bins filled with merchandise from Laney Supermarket, 843 Laney-Walker Boulevard, were stored overnight at a warehouse of Thompson Building and Wrecking, a company hired by the grocery’s property manager for disposal of the items.
A handful of staff members separated canned foods from household items, and boxed the items Wednesday morning. A Golden Harvest truck retrieved the load, which filled about half the truck.
Perishable items, including meat and produce, were taken to the landfill, said Hiram Thompson, president of Thompson Building and Wrecking.
“We had the option of taking it to the landfill or doing something good with it,” Thompson said.
The grocery store tenant, Il Ki Choi, was evicted Tuesday after he failed to obey a 30-day notice that its lease would not be renewed. The eviction notice was served Feb. 13.
On Tuesday, hundreds crowded the grocery store parking lot hoping to make off with merchandise piled outside the store before the Richmond County sheriff’s and marshal’s offices said they would not be allowed to take away any goods.
Travis McNeal, Golden Harvest’s executive director, said the food bank will sort and inspect the items before they are distributed to the hungry.
“The most sad thing is a lot of food got dirty or messed up because it was all thrown in there together,” McNeal said.
Perishable items, even if retrieved immediately from the store, might not have been salvageable, McNeal said. It would have been difficult to know whether meat had been properly refrigerated.
Thompson said when his business received the call from property manager FirstService Residential Realty to deliver trash bins quickly to the site, it did not know the situation with the food.
A truck driver alerted the company’s dispatch office, and additional Thompson Wrecking and Building crews arrived to assist a few workers that were already there.
Golden Harvest receives donated perishable items from major grocery store chains almost daily, McNeal said. Occasionally, restaurants or catering businesses going out of business will donate items.
The food bank is responsible for checking items and adhering to guidelines set by the federal Food and Drug Administration, he said.