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Mobile food pantry nourishes Walthourville

Grocery giveaway called a success

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POSTED: October 27, 2012 10:15 a.m.
Photo by Danielle Hipps/

Volunteers pack grocery bags Thursday for the emergency mass mobile food drop at the Walthourville Fire Department. The event, sponsored by the United Way in conjunction with America’s Second Harvest Food Bank, provided food for 300 households.

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Several members of the community on Thursday received a small, but critical, “blessing” through an emergency mass mobile food drop in Walthourville.
“It’s a blessing … I wish it would happen more, but God blesses you in small ways,” food recipient Jean Smith said as she loaded her bags.
Smith’s bags held a fraction of the 10,000 pounds of food distributed Thursday with funding support from the United Way of the Coastal Empire Liberty County office, which coordinates the delivery in conjunction with America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia.
About 300 households received 20 pounds of food in the form of two bags, which are intended to supply a week’s worth of groceries.
More than 40 volunteers from Faith Baptist Christian Academy and the Walthourville Seniors helped pack the bags, which contained juices, pasta, olive oil, beans, breads and cookies.
The emergency mass mobile food drops aim to reach those who do not have access to centralized food banks, United Way of Liberty County Director Jennifer Darsey said.
Second Harvest mobile food coordinator Frank McNeill said the group has seen increased need in recent years due to changes in the economy.
McNeill oversees food drops in 21 counties, and the group gave 1.4 million pounds of food during the last fiscal year, he said.
Second Harvest, which operates within U.S. Department of Agriculture parameters, factors each county’s population and poverty level when assessing need.
In Liberty County, the group is required to provide at least 185,000 pounds of food per year.
“A lot of people, they don’t even have enough food to make it to the end of the month,” McNeill said. “So we come in with the mobile food pantry, and we actually help them to make it to the end of the month; you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I hear — folks are so grateful.”
Locally, the United Way typically funds four deliveries per year, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency supports another five, Darsey said.
Darsey said there will be two more emergency mass mobile food drops before the year ends. One will be in November, and one in December will be near the holidays, though details have yet to be ironed out.

 

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