The Calhoun-Gordon Community Foundation announced this week their recent award of a $20,000 grant to the Voluntary Action Center (VAC), also known as Hand-Up Inc., to help fund their Community Kitchen Expansion Project.

The foundation has awarded 101 grants totaling over $725,000 to local organizations since its inception in 2005.

“The VAC’s hot lunch program is a lifeline for so many struggling individuals and families in our community,” said Kristy S. Brown, chairman of the Calhoun-Gordon Community Foundation. “After they renovate and reorganize their building, they will be able to provide dinner services as well. We wanted to help them with that.”

The renovation master plan includes expanding the existing kitchen and food prep areas; converting the existing dining area to refrigerated storage; transforming the current training room into a larger dining area capable of seating 80 people; closing in the breezeway and adding a service window; converting the existing women’s bathroom into a dining room restroom; and other improvements.

“The bottom line is that the construction project will allow us to help more individuals and families who need us,” said Stacy Long, VAC’s executive director. “We will continue to serve our neighbors in need, the working poor and senior citizens during lunch, but offering dinners will allow children who are currently on the free or reduced lunch rosters at school to have a hot dinner as well.”

Long says that they will slowly phase in dinners after the construction is completed, which will be somewhere in the March to June timeframe.

“The Community Foundation has been integral to the VAC’s success for several years,” she said. “Back in 2011, they awarded a grant that allowed us to purchase the commercial equipment to furnish our kitchen. That was a game changer for us, and helped us begin providing meals to the most vulnerable of our community. As of today, we’ve served 183,675 hot meals.”

“Philanthropy and charitable giving are critical to the overall health and welfare of our community,” said David Aft, president of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia. “Giving often makes the difference between being able to help those in need and not. The Community Foundation is proud to be part of this critical equation and the important work of so many valuable organizations and programs.”

The Calhoun-Gordon Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia. The foundation’s main focus is working with individuals and families throughout Northwest Georgia to simplify and enhance giving, estate and tax planning by offering a variety of fund types. The foundation also promotes charitable giving by connecting people to nonprofits and civic projects that may be of interest to them. To learn more about the Foundation, contact Aft at 706-275-9117.

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