Facing a state deadline, a “desperate” effort is under way to find a new site for a surplus food giveaway in Surry County.
“Time is of the essence,” Lorene Jones, county coordinator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commodities-distribution program, said Thursday regarding the search for a planned giveaway in Elkin in September. Periodic distributions of surplus meat and other products are held on back-to-back days in both Elkin and Mount Airy.
However, Jones said she learned this week from Granite Development, a Mount Airy firm which has been allowing the program to use the old Kmart building in Elkin, that it no longer is available due to renovations under way there.
This has left the upcoming distribution in the lurch. “I am desperately searching for a location to conduct the September distribution in Elkin,” Jones stated.
The sense of urgency is due to Jones having only eight days, as of Thursday, to find another site. That’s because she must supply its address to officials in Raleigh no later than Aug. 24, so they can mail advance notices to food stamp recipients who receive items.
Jones said Thursday afternoon she had a lead on one building, but pending an inspection today, it was not known whether it is suitable for the food distribution. “I am open to options,” she said of the status of the search given that uncertainty.
Since the distributions occur on opposite geographic ends of Surry County, Jones said a site somewhere in the general Elkin area, if not in the town itself, is desired.
“I need a building large enough to receive approximately 350 cases of food, sufficient space for setting up tables to bag and stage the food and a parking lot adjacent to the building large enough to accommodate 150 to 200 cars,” Jones reported of the specifications sought.
“I really need a lot that has a driveway wide enough for vehicles to enter and exit.”
The facility is needed only on a limited basis, according to the coordinator:
“I am scheduled to receive the commodities on Sept. 7 and distribute on Sept. 13. We would bag the food on Saturday, Sept. 8, and possibly Monday, Sept. 10, and would return on Sept. 13 for the actual distribution. We would only be tying up the parking lot from 8 a.m. to approximately 12 p.m.”
Jones added, “The general public will not be inside the building; the food is distributed as vehicles drive through the parking lot.”
Any business or property owner who can help may reach the coordinator at 367-4264.
There are no problems with the usual giveaway site in Mount Airy, Veterans Memorial Park.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.