The delivery from Bradwell Institute’s JROTC canned food drive came at the right time for Manna House Ministries.
The local food pantry received over 1,000 canned goods from Bradwell students, teachers and community members, as part of the JROTC’s service learning project. The students planned the food drive at the beginning of the school year and the initial day to drop off the food was delayed because of Hurricane Matthew.
In the end it all seemed to work out.
Hurricane Matthew knocked out power to Manna House, spoiling food and the food pantry had little to give out for storm relief.
Elder Leinell Glenn, who works at the Manna House, said they filled four garbage cans full of spoiled meat, ran out of chicken and were only able to give out canned food.
The students also presented Glenn with a
heck for $500 from JROTC funds. She was touched by their act and gave each student a hug.
"Now everything is turning around. People heard that we were low on items and they started to donate," she said. "You can always turn a tragedy around. What Bradwell did helped a lot."
Col. Jim Wagner, JROTC instructor, said students decided to do something for the community. The food drive lasted for two weeks and the theme was "Do you part and have a heart."
The project soon turned into a competition to see which JROTC company, platoon and person could collect the most, Wagner said.
Charlie Company collected the most with 578 cans, including their platoon, then Bravo with 286 and Alpha with 145. Virginia Hernandez of the Alpha Company collected the most, second was Vanessa DeLa Riva-lave of Bravo and Kétavia Reid of Charlie.
"You get to watch them grow and mature over the years," Wagner said. "When they come back from the summer they’re excited to get started and give back to the community."
Kroger stores in Hinesville and Richmond, Food Lion in Hinesville and Becky McGarrah, president of the BI Parent Teacher Organization, donated gift cards to the food drive. Students then used the cards, approximately $160 total, to purchase more canned goods.
"We’ll have more to give out now," Glenn said. "We only had a little to give now we can do more. This is such a blessing."
The Manna House is in need of starches, such as rice, spaghetti and noodles.