GAINESVILLE - In an effort to better serve the hungry in five target counties, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank opened the doors to its new 20,000 square foot facility Friday in Hall County.
Governor Nathan Deal was back home in Hall County for the ribbon cutting off Calvary Church Road in Boomershine Family Logistics Center.
"As we, at one end of the spectrum, fight obesity, we must at the other end of the spectrum fight hunger. This is a great step forward," Gov. Deal said.
The facility includes warehouse space, coolers, freezers, offices and loading docks.
Officials said the building will allow them to distribute over five times the amount of food they did in their former location in Flowery Branch. The service area includes Dawson, Forsyth, Hall Lumpkin and Union counties.
The bank's executive director Kay Blackstock spoke to the crowd following the ribbon cutting Friday. She called the community a giving one.
"Just as I've built hope, we've built hope today for the families and children and folks who might not know where their next meal will come from. This facility represents great hope."
Blackstock thanked the Brian Hollis family and Hollis Transport, where the bank was located for about three and a half years.
"Without them, we wouldn't be here," Blackstock added, nearly in tears.
The new facility came with the support of Walter Boomershine and his family. Blackstock welcomed Mr. Boomershine to the microphone.
"I hope you realize you're showing God your appreciation, because we're blessed to be a blessing," Boomershine told the crowd.
Board member Kevin Price urged people to give to the capital campaign. The goal is $3 million for the facility and operations for the first five years.
Price said they've already reached nearly half of that amount in pledges. All but $10,000 of that is in the bank, according to Price.
He talked about a billboard he saw on a recent drive.
"It said one dollar equals four meals, and that's what it's about."
The food bank is an affiliate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of that organization, was also on hand for the day.
"This food bank is joining this community of food banks so that we share food, we share our best practices, we support each other personally and often times financially."