By Elizabeth Rawlins, WTOC TV
Crews are busy constructing a brand new freezer at America’s Second Harvest of the Coastal Empire after the original freezer collapsed on a million pounds of food six months ago.
Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch said they are rebuilding the freezer in the exact same spot where the old one collapsed. About half of the freezer walls have been constructed, but Crouch said they still have a lot to do.
“The walls should be finished in just a couple of weeks, and then we will start putting the electricity and the cooling units in,” said Crouch.
It’s been a trying six months for the people at Second Harvest as they rebuild their freezer while keeping up with the demand to serve the community.
Crouch said it was a freak accident that happened from a September storm. Strong gusty winds destroyed the freezer and nearly 11,000 pounds of food.
The food they managed to save has been sitting in four temporary freezers.
“Logistically, it’s horrible because if you want the chicken that is sitting in the front of that trailer, you have to move everything to get to that chicken,” said Crouch.
She said the food bank has been fortunate. Between insurance coverage and donations, they have been able to raise all but $5,000 for a new freezer that costs nearly $500,000.
Celebrity chefs Jamie and Bobby Deen serve on the board of directors and have helped the food bank get back on its feet.
“It was the community here that has helped us, it was a tough loss, but anytime you go through a challenge that shows you who your friends are,” said Jamie Deen.
Engineers say the cause of the collapse was from metal rods that shifted between the ceiling and the freezer. Now, the executive director said they are rebuilding and bracing for better luck.
“We are adding extra steel connecting the freezer and the roof,” said Crouch.
She says they expect this to have the freezer completed by April. If you would like to help with this project, you can donate on their website at http://www.helpendhunger.org/.