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Food giveaway draws crowd

POSTED: November 24, 2010 12:11 p.m.

The Rev. Katrina Deason said she heard from police officers that a couple hundred people had lined up at the crack of dawn Monday to ensure they could get free Thanksgiving baskets from the Manna House.
“By the time we got there at 7 a.m., there was a line down the street,” she said of the three-day giveaway.
The food pantry received $1,000 from Liberty County High School along with numerous canned good donations from the school and community to get the drive going for the holidays.
Although the pantry wasn’t able to serve 448 families like last year because of lacking funds, Manna House volunteers were able to giveaway about 350 baskets.
As the executive director for Manna House, Deason  said more than 500 people showed up the first two days of the drive, only to turn many away—mainly senior citizens and the unemployed—because she had run out of gift baskets.
“I didn’t serve as many as I hoped I would,” Deason said.
During the giveaway, Deason received help from about 50 volunteers between soliciting donations, distribution and pickups for the giveaway. She said although she does receive help mostly in food donations from the grocery stores, that the Thanksgiving baskets were a result of community efforts.
Because of the limited refrigeration at the Manna House, Deason and volunteers had to pick up some of the turkeys the day of the giveaway, but she said the receivers of the baskets were patient and gracious.
“They are very grateful. When you’ve got to stand in line for a turkey for two hours, there is some frustration, but they’ve been really grateful,” she said.
For the past 18 years, the Manna House has provided both perishable and non-perishable items to those in need, Deason said. Perishable items are available to anyone who comes in, but to receive non-perishable items, clients must go through an application process to ensure the poverty level is met.
 “Quite frankly, this was from the community. It was Hinesville helping Hinesville,” Deason said of the basket giveaway.
The Manna House will also do a drive during the week of Christmas through food donations by Food Lion, Kroger and Walmart.

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