$1.5 million needed for new soup kitchen

The Golden Harvest Food Bank has kicked off a campaign to raise $1.5 million for its new Master's Table soup kitchen.

Nikasha Dicks
North Augusta Today Editor
Twitter: @NAToday
E-mail | 706-823-3708

The Master's Table provides lunch to people who are homeless or hungry, said Michael Firmin, executive director of the food bank.

"Golden Harvest provides the food and the paid staff to oversee the program. The actual meals are prepared and served by volunteer teams," he said. "It's provided to our guests with no questions asked."

The program has operated out of a building at 842 Fenwick St. since 1991. The dining room seats 45 people; however, an average of 300 people are served during the 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. lunchtime each day, Mr. Firmin said.

"This has become a huge concern for us, as well as our volunteers," he said. "We have to feed this many people in a hour and a half in a facility that has been deteriorating badly over the years."

The building has leaks and the kitchen equipment is more than 16 years old, which makes it difficult to cook the quantity of food needed.

Because of the limited space and the number of people being fed, there is little time for other things, such as counseling and referrals to other services, Mr. Firmin said.

The new facility, which will be located at Seventh and Fenwick streets, will have 6,800 square feet and will seat 152 people.

"In the new facility, we will be able to give them counseling and refer them to other services that can get them out of the cycle," he said. "Our vision is to do more for our guests than simply feed them. We want to have a more holistic approach and offer services that can potentially change their lives."

The facility will cost $1.5 million.

"We needed the building yesterday, so the sooner we can raise the money, the better," Mr. Firmin said. "Every day it becomes more and more difficult because the numbers grow, and with this economy we expect it to grow even more."

Construction won't begin until the $1.5 million is raised, he added.

"I'm confident that we can do this," he said. "With our community's help, I truly believe that we can raise the amount. Our guests are worthy of a new facility that can better serve them and offer them opportunities to a better way."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.


Tax-deductible donations may be sent to:

Golden Harvest Food Bank

3310 Commerce Drive

Augusta, GA 30909

Please indicate that the donations are for the Master's Table Building Fund.

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Riverman1 01/29/09 - 06:04 am
They do a good job and feed a

They do a good job and feed a lot of people and I'm not trying to say don't give them the money, but the county should, also, give them one of the deserted school lunchrooms or something. The lines are going to get bigger as the economy continues to get smaller. Worry about grants to theatres and such later. Let's help this organization feed people.

SCGAL53 01/29/09 - 07:35 am
River, using a deserted

River, using a deserted lunchroom is an excellent idea. It seems people are still putting luxuries first and times are too hard right now.

jaschild 01/29/09 - 07:59 am
i agree. there is a

i agree. there is a multitude of abandoned buildings out there. perhaps the salvation army might have an interest in providing their shelter etc, out of the same building.

sprintman 01/29/09 - 11:46 am
These are the kind of

These are the kind of programs the community needs to invest into. This along with the kroc center would do alot. With helping the less forunate. In alot of ways. If you want crime to go down and you want to get the homeless off the street. And turn them into tax paying citizens. Help out please!

whyme 01/29/09 - 01:49 pm
Unfortunately, no matter

Unfortunately, no matter where these folks wanted to go, people complained that the homeless people were a danger. So I guess they are basically staying in the same area and now have to come up with $$ to serve those less fortunate. Yes, there are homeless panhandlers or worse, but check out the paper and see how many of the criminals have an address listed! Quite a few more!

devilishlymad67 01/29/09 - 02:44 pm
having done volunteer time

having done volunteer time down there with my children i can tell you that this is a need. This isn't just about lowlifes, or addicts. Children are fed there, families helped who have lost their jobs. A real need for people that never expected to be there. Help the community people. Maybe if everyone held a yardsale and donated just half the funds to this worthwhile project? That is an idea to pass along.

clem79 02/01/09 - 12:35 am
There is a kitchen and

There is a kitchen and lunchroom about five blocks away from the new site at the old Houghton School. Maybe that could be used instead of building a new building.

Oatmeal2 02/03/09 - 02:00 am
Oatmeal: If we let Jesus

Oatmeal: If we let Jesus come into our actions people will understand Him better. Preaching without action is dead as door nails.

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