Editor: I’m not sure who coined the phrase "keep it simple," but we did, and the community response was tremendous. During the past three years we’ve coordinated a food drive for the Manna House on the first Thursday in June during the Farmers Market in Bradwell Park. Each year, the community has doubled the results, which shows either a big heart or a competitive spirit, or maybe some of both.
The Hinesville Downtown Development Authority and Rotary Club of Hinesville asked the Manna House what they needed. "Something for children for summer lunches," said Pastor Katrina Deason, who manages the food pantry.
Many Rotarians had collection bins at their places of business. Some also asked others with whom they conduct business to be collection sites as well. Thank you to everyone who served as a collection site. About half of the collection came from sites.
Local businesses and organizations did engage in a bit of friendly competition, each vying to win the designation of top contributor.
Ameris Bank and its customers earned the top spot this year by bringing in 600 jars! GeoVista touted a collection of 244 jars, Hinesville Area Board of Realtors brought in 235, The Heritage Bank offered up 133, Food Lion donated 119 jars, Full Gospel brought 88, Vietnam Veterans Association donated 78, St. Philip Episcopal gave 73, Kappa Lamba Chi Military Fraternity donated 57 and the Liberty County Armed Services YMCA collected 36.
The additional 441 jars came in one or two or four at a time. There were families, children, civic groups and non-profits that brought their jars and added their name to our big poster.
When we tallied our total this year, we reached 2,104 jars! This is more than double the 2016 total of 1,011, and nearly four times the collection in 2015 of 530 jars. Thank you, Hinesville and Liberty County residents for your competitive spirit and your heart to help your neighbors.
If you missed this year’s drive, the Manna House will accept peanut butter, jelly, and many other foods year around. Pastor Deason said they fed more than 2,200 families holiday meals last year, so they will kick off a large holiday food drive this fall.
Thank you again, for an amazing COMMUNITY campaign. We truly are a stronger community when we work together.
Michelle K.W. Ricketson
Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, executive director
Rotary Club of Hinesville,
immediate past president