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Feed the Hungry back in Hinesville
Sister-in-law of MLK will be guest speaker
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Savannah Feed the Hungry is preparing another meal and food giveaway in Hinesville from noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at the National Guard Armory.

According to Pastor Carl Gilliard, founder of Savannah Feed the Hungry, Naomi Barber King, sister-in-law of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will be guest speaker at the event. Her husband, the late A.D. Williams King, strongly supported his brother and the civil rights movement. On May 11, 1963, a bomb destroyed the Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Ala., where Dr. King was staying, while another bomb destroyed the home of Naomi and A.D. King.

According to, Dr. King, his father, Ralph David Abernathy, and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young secretly met at the Dorchester Center in the early 1960s to devise their strategy for the 1963 Birmingham march.

During the first area Feed the Hungry event on Dec. 22, Gilliard said he hoped to return to Hinesville every three months to provide a hot meal, canned food, fresh meat, bakery goods and vegetables, as well as shoes, clothes and furniture items.

“We expect to feed at least as many people Saturday as we did just before Christmas, which would be more than 1,500,” said Gilliard. “We’ve already collected over 2,000 pounds of produce, including 2,000 bundles of collard greens, plus organic sweet potatoes and real yams, which is an African sweet potato some call a yammi. We’ll also be serving a special treat with our hot meal — purple sweet potato pie.”

Gilliard said his organization has been working hard to expand it support to communities outside Savannah, and the success of the December event in Hinesville convinced him the Lord was behind the event. Naomi King’s participation in the event is especially encouraging, he said.

“When we leave Hinesville this time, I want us to leave behind an infrastructure so we can come back again and again,” he said. “Hunger is really our biggest problem in this country. And I think we’re building a base of support in Hinesville with a focus on helping the working poor and even some military families, who are struggling in this economy.”

Not that long ago, Gilliard lost his high-paying job and then his home. Once homeless with a family to feed, he understands the impact of poverty at a personal level and since has worked to help the poor, providing them with that most basic human need — food.

Gilliard and his staff also work to gain individual, civic and business support and donations. For example, the Hinesville YMCA and local radio stations recently agreed to help his organization.

The group works with restaurants and dollar stores to get dented canned foods, perishable foods and medicines nearing their expiration dates. Dilliard also reaches out to motels and rental property owners to provide temporary shelter for homeless families. Some of the clothes and bed linens available on Saturday were obtained from the U.S. Customs Department, he said, but most was donated by individuals wanting to help others.

Gilliard’s goal is to obtain a permanent structure of at least 3,000 square feet for a branch office in Hinesville to store bulk items and heavier items such as canned foods and furniture. He said that everything is donated to organization and is given away, not sold.

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