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Hundreds tested Friday

Hundreds came out this past Friday morning in Hinesville to Manna House’s weekly food giveaway. While receiving their food clients also had the option of getting tested for COVID-19 for free.

Diversity Health Center CEO Stephanie Jones-Heath said her non-profit health agency has been partnering with other community agencies to offer pop-up testing sites. She said they are trying to ramp up testing since the shelter-in-place orders are lifted and people are looking to return to work but fear they might spread the virus.

During Manna House’s giveaway Jones-Heath said they were able to test hundreds of people for free, using their mobile community clinic. Jones-Heath said prior to being tested clients fill out a demographic form that includes their contact information. She said they are getting the results back within three days. Anyone who tested positive for the virus will get a call from Diversity Health instructing them to quarantine at home. Jones-Heath said they also notify the Georgia Department of Health who will then call the client to provide instruction and assisted if needed.

Jones-Heath said they are also offering the test, free of charge, at their clinics in Hinesville, Ludowici and Jesup.

Manna House Executive Director Katrina Deason said cars were lined up as early as 7 a.m. along Gause Street. Each vehicle was given meat, fruit and nonperishable items from their pantry. Those who waited in line for their groceries were also treated to a completely cooked meal from Sho-Nuff Good Smoking BBQ.

“I want to thank Jonathan Garrett the owner,” Deason said. “They cooked all these meals and did this free of charge,”

Deason said they plan to continue offering the weekly drive-thru food giveaway as long as they see that there is still a need.

“There has been an increase since the pandemic began,” Deason noted. “Some of these are our clients, the needy and the low income. Even if our stores shelves were full, they couldn’t buy the food. But when the shelves are near empty then no one can buy. We all know there is a thing as supply and need and with the store being bare and the prices going up, we wanted to make sure, that you should have something to eat. 

She said being able to help others is rewarding.

“I can’t sit down and have a nice meal wondering if my neighbor has food or not,” she said. “So, when we do these things, we go home tired, but we go home happy because we know when we sit down and eat that others who had the need get to eat as well.”

She added that the Youth ChalleNGe Academy Cadre assisted them in the distribution of meals. 

Patty Leon contributed to this report.

VIDEO: Testing, food offered at Manna House

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