Doressa Hawes serves as Golden Harvest Food Bank's volunteer program manager. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Doressa Hawes serves as Golden Harvest Food Bank's volunteer program manager. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Volunteer coordinator helps Golden Harvest Food Bank fulfill its mission

Volunteer service is second nature to Doressa Hawes.

“I’ve always tried to be involved as much as possible in the community,” said Hawes, who grew up as a “preacher’s kid” with giving back to others instilled in her. Now, she connects people to service opportunities at Golden Harvest Food Bank, where she works as the volunteer program manager.

The food bank provides more than 11 million meals annually, and it takes a lot of volunteers to feed nearly 300,000 families in those 12 months.

 There are several ways people can get involved, said Hawes, who currently oversees about 410 volunteers a week, but anticipates that number almost doubling later in the summer.

Volunteers prepare meal trays at the Master’s Table as part of MLK Day 2023. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

About 40 daily volunteers help pack backpack meals for children as well as senior citizen and family meal boxes five days a week at the Augusta campus on Commerce Drive while another 30 volunteers help prepare food and serve meals each day seven days a week at The Master’s Table soup kitchen.

Around August, construction on the produce reclamation center is expected to be completed. Roughly 60 volunteers will be needed per day for five days a week to sort and pack produce there.

Volunteers can be as young as 8 years old to help out at the Augusta campus. They must be at least 13 to serve meals at the soup kitchen and 18 to prepare meals.

 Families, church groups, companies and civic organizations often give of their time, and Hawes said there are quite a few regulars as well.

 Hawes came to the food bank in 2021 after working at Augusta Magazine and spending many years in retail management.

 During the pandemic, Hawes saw firsthand how the food bank helped those in need.

“I volunteered during COVID at one of the agencies,” she said. “We had PTO time, but no one was going on vacation. I started using PTO to serve at different agencies.”

Hawes still volunteers outside work hours. She’s been involved with the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce since 2016. She’s served on the ambassador committee, as vice chair of the events advisory committee and on its board of directors. She was recognized as its volunteer of the year in 2023.

“Every time they say ‘can you?,’ I say ‘yes,’” she said. “I love the factor of being able to be connected to individuals as well as businesses.”

She’s also heavily involved with her church – Parks Grove FBH Church in Lincolnton, where she’s on the praise team and serves as church administrator.

Hawes said she enjoys what she does at the food bank.

“Coming here, just the fact of being able to help people has really been very humbling,” she said. “I play a small part, but I love the fact of being able to serve.”

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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