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Connect Savannah News & Notes

There’s always something happening in the Hostess City. Stay in the know about upcoming events and the latest information with our periodic News & Notes.

Upcoming Events

Cheers for Charity Fundraiser

Who: Tharros Place
When: Wednesday, Jan. 17 (all day)
Where: Sobremesa, 2312 Abercorn St.
What: In acknowledgement of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, local wine bar Sobremesa will donate 10 percent of sales to Tharros Place, a nonprofit that provides residential services for survivors of human trafficking.

Local Updates

The Savannah Yoga Center and Ordinary Magic announces new location at 509 Barnard Street

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Courtesy of Savannah Yoga Center

Ribbon Cutting Jan. 18 at 3:00 p.m.

Savannah Yoga Center, (SYC) a fixture in the Savannah yoga community and a supporter of the broader community since 2008, announces the grand opening of its studio at its new location at 509 Barnard Street in Savannah Thursday, Jan. 18 at 3 p.m.

“I am thrilled to be at this new location”, said Kelley Boyd, owner of SYC. “We remain in the historic district, where we first began. This location offers even more access to students, with classes seven days a week, additional free on-street parking and a beautiful practice space.”

In addition to the new serene practice space accessed through a garden entrance at the rear of the building, the front of the building also houses Ordinary Magic, a calming and tranquil crystal and gift shop.

“It has been my life’s mission to bring the gift of yoga to our community”, said Boyd. “Over the last 21 years, we have served thousands of students and helped them to achieve physical and spiritual well-being. In addition, we were one of the first studios in Savannah to offer teacher training, and we are thrilled that our teachers continue to teach not only in Savannah, but around the globe. We are currently teaching yoga in 7 countries.”

As part of their grand opening celebration, SYC will be offering several free yoga classes to the community on Saturday, Jan. 20 beginning at 9 a.m.

“There is no registration required: our goal is simply to introduce yoga to as many students as possible”, said Ms. Boyd. “I believe wholeheartedly that the fountain of youth is flexibility and that yoga gives you flexibility in the three most important aspects of ourselves-body, mind and spirit. All are welcome to attend…from beginners to more advanced students.”

For more information about the free class offerings can be found on the website at savannahyoga.com. Additional information about classes and workshops can be found on the Facebook page (facebook.com/savannahyoga) and on Instagram (instagram.com/savannahyogacenter) or by calling (912) 232-2994.

Zunzi's + Zunzibar donates funds to Feeding America

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Bobby Walls
Dalia Simpson (left), Chris Smith and Mary Jane Crouch (right) pose with the check.

On Friday, Jan. 12, at the downtown Savannah location, the Zunzi's + Zunzibar team presented a check worth $11,289 to the Director of America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, Mary Jane Crouch. The donation to Feeding America came after Zunzi's and owner Chris Smith committed to donating a percentage of his company's fourth quarter profit in 2023 to the charitable organization located off of President Street in Savannah.

"I think there are different parts to every business," Smith said. "Giving should be a part of the business just like accounting and payroll or whatever you have like operations. Whenever I've given, I've always gotten more back. So I think giving is just good business.

ZUNZIFEST! was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 9 but weather conditions forced the employee and customer appreciation event to be pushed back a few days.

"For every dollar donated, we can provide five meals," Crouch said a few days before the check presentation. "Most of the food we receive is donated, but we have to pay the transportation and costs like that. Zunzi's have been great partners with us for many, many years now and we are grateful for that."

Healthy Savannah calls on city and county to enact policies to improve healthy food access and equity

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Courtesy of Healthy Savannah
Armand Turner, Healthy Savannah deputy director

Over the past year, representatives from Healthy Savannah have been working with community advocates to redesign the Savannah Chatham Food Policy Council (SCFPC).

Now, the group’s purpose, focus, and organizational makeup have been restructured to address the current barriers of the food landscape in Chatham County in key areas of food access, affordability, transportation and trust issues.

It is estimated that 35,000 Savannahians live more than a mile from a grocery store. In Chatham County, 17.6% of all residents are food insecure and 21.8% of children are food insecure.

Several listening sessions were held across the county in recent months to receive community input. An inaugural meeting to launch the newly reconstructed Food Policy Council was held late last year and the group has scheduled a second meeting for Thursday, Jan. 18. Next, its members plan to seek an audience with the Chatham County Commission and the Savannah City Council to ask for their support of proposed policies to improve healthy food access and equity.

“The Food Policy Council is poised to serve across sectors and accomplish major improvements in our local food system,” said Armand Turner, deputy director of Healthy Savannah. “But we need local ordinances that outline the mission of the SCFPC and its responsibilities. We need those policies to acknowledge the Food Policy Council’s important role in making policy recommendations to advance food access.”

Turner says the group plans to address the County Commission at its Jan. 19 meeting and the City Council on Feb. 22. They will introduce the Food Policy Council and its board to the local legislators and explain why the SCFPC needs their support.

“We will be asking the County Commission and the City Council to consider new or revised policies that improve equitable food access efforts,” said Turner. “We are also seeking their help in establishing a robust and resilient food system that is in line with community priorities and does not cause a disproportionately negative impact on the farms or food businesses located in our low-wealth neighborhoods.”

“We know what to do, now we just need to do it and that starts with asking our local governments to enact policies that bolster our mission to make the healthy choice the easy choice through policy and systems change,” said Paula Kreissler, executive director of Healthy Savannah. “From establishing and supporting community gardens to enacting food service guidelines at schools, hospital cafeterias, and for catered public events, City and County regulations can be very instrumental in driving change.”

Turner says the Food Policy Council’s overall goals include addressing issues and working to resolve barriers that deter access to healthy foods. Those efforts might include ensuring healthier options are available for children at area schools and for the community at corner stores.

“Our first two Savannah Chatham Food Policy Council meetings were well attended and those conversations revealed great insight as we work to re-establish the group with the community’s help,” said Kreissler. “We want to share those insights with City and County leaders and ask them to support this effort, which has been spearheaded by a diverse group of community members, organizational and agency representatives, policymakers, farmers, academia, and students, in conjunction with food system experts.”

Kreissler says the SCFPC will initially focus on identifying and addressing the community’s top food system priorities; advocating for food policies centered on equity; and collaborating with other local, regional, state, and national efforts that seek to improve healthy food access.

“We need a Food Policy Council that is trusted by, connected to, and empowered by community residents,” said Turner. “Collaboration and support from City Hall and the Chatham County Commission are paramount to our success as we work towards addressing food insecurity throughout the entire county. We look forward to productive conversations with our local leaders to help drive continued momentum.”

Approximately 45% or 129,698 of the almost 290,000 people living in Chatham County live more than a mile from the closest grocery store, according to a 2021 study, Food Deserts in Chatham County, Georgia. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a food desert as a region where the people who live there have limited access to healthy and affordable food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

     

Chantel Britton

Chantel Britton is a compelling storyteller with an ever-growing curiosity. She's built a rewarding writing career for herself in addition to serving five years as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. She's an NPR nerd with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and adventure. She...
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