Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
March 7, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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March 7, 2018

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March 7, 2018 Page 3C = porter e By Diane Glidewell Dedicated volunteers have worked together at least monthly since 2009 to provide boxes of food for families and bags of food for individuals to get them through from one month to the next. Working with Circle of Care and several dE- ferent churches in the Monroe County area, they presently serve about 100 households and 40 individuals. About 30-40 volun- leers meet at Christ United Methodist Church, next to Betsy Lynn Apartments on Frontage Road, on the third Wednesday of the month and wait for trucks to arrive with food from the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank in Macon, usually one truck with perishable food stuffs and another truck with non-perishable items. They are ready at 10 a.m. to begin unloading the trucks and sorting the items into packages for distribution. Recipients of those packages, who submit applications and are approved for the food program, begin arriving about 11 a.m. "It's a pretty amazing things that our commu- nity does every month," said Aimee Freeman, a long time volunteer. ' vVe always need volunteers; we need some strength to unload and load. Some of the churches rotate and some come every" month." Many of the volunteers have given their time faithfully each month for years. There are retirees, homeschool families, students from Gordon College earn- ing community service credit for their education class, ministers, vari- ous church groups and some of the recipients themselves helping. Some of the boxes weigh 50 lbs or more and require some muscle to move, and other tasks require creativity like figuring out the best way to re- package big big blocks of frozen breaded okra or French toast into more useable portions. Jackie and Jim Padgett are always a part of the distribution. They man- age the Circle of Care permanent pantry and provide food to others in need during different times of the month. They take some of the non- perishable items from the monthly distribu- tion to store and use for the expanded ministry. Vkginia Remick handles the paperwork of taking applications from people who want to receive food and the paperwork of ordering from the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank. Wanda Buff was part or the group that got together to organize the monthly food distribution in 2009, and she contin- ues to work with it regu- larly as she does with other aspects of helping people through Monroe County's Circle of Care, a 501(c)3 organization. Many others are "always there" and work before and after the monthly event to make it happen But just when they thought things were run- ning fairly smoothly, they now have to figure out how they will deal with some new obstacles. Even though the need for food assistance keeps grow- ing, the Food Bank has told them that because it. it having funding issues they will have to start paying for the food, at 10-12 cents per pound. That seems insignifi- cant on boxes of meat or lighter items like bread but adds up quickly for pallets of bottled water, juices and canned goods. The Food Bank has also said the community dis- tributers will have to pay for trucks and drivers to bring the food to them or find their own approved means of transporting it. Committee members will be looking at these new challenges, trying to work out logistics and find funding sources. Volunteers dealt with ripples of the problems the Food Bank is having as they carried out their monthly food distribu- tion on Feb. 21. Normally perishables and non-per- ishables come in two dE- ferent trucks so that the volunteers can work on packaging them separate- ly. This month everything came in one big load. And instead of com- ing at 10 a.m the truck fmally pulled up to Christ UMC to unload closer to 11:30 a.m. In the mean- time about 40 volunteers and dozens of recipients waited, unable to contact the Food Bank to plan around the delay. Some of the volunteers, like those from Gordon College who needed to get back to classes, had to leave. Some recipients were content to wait in their vehicles, but Christ UMC Pastor Susan Hatcher invited those who wanted to come out of the driz- zhng rain into the church sanctuary where some of the volunteers shared their musical talents and lead some group singing to pass the time. Once the truck arrived, volunteers quickly jumped into action unloading and sorting. There were boxes of fro- zen biscuits, pancakes, French toast and okra. Other boxes held dried plums, dried pinto beans and individually pack- aged frozen meals for one. There were assorted bakery items from breads to cakes and big bags of baby carrots. There were graham snacks and bottles of grape juice. A volunteer had to go buy Ziploc bags to use to separate some of the com- modities into portions, something the group did not know they would need to do. They were prepared with plastic gloves for handling the food safely to re-package it. The volunteer contin- gent, both the experi- enced veterans and the energetic newcomers, like two young Church of Latter Day Saints missionaries from Utah, kept a positive attitude in spite of delays and changes. They'worked efficiently and cheerfully. After they give out the boxes and bags to thbse who come to the monthly drop off at Christ UMC, the food distribution organizers find places where any extra food can be used. Non-perishables usually go to the Circle of Care food pantry; some- times perishable items. go to local nursing homes and to churches to dis- tribute. Padget remem- bers finding places for 800 packs of blueberries one time and 50 lb. bags of carrots another time. Some items, like baked goods, are distributed at the Circle of Care Thrift Store on Adams Street. Many of the items that come from the Food Bank are donated by Walmart and Publix; others' are U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities. "Nothing goes to waste," said Hatcher. '~Ne can always use more volunteers," said Buff. ' vVe can especially use those who come for the right reasons, who really care." She said the Circle of Care board of directors is trying to add some new members who will bring in new ideas. Circle of Care would like to add some classes that teach things like how to look for employment and how to manage money to the ser- vices it offers. Buff said there is no homeless shel- Above, volunteers fTom vari- ous walks of life work together to unload the Middle Georgia Community Food Banktruck when it arrives at Christ United Methodist Church in Forsyth. Left, volunteers open boxes from the truck and repackage them into boxes to serve a household, including lots of frozen breaded okra. Volunteers try to work quickly to sort out perishable food from the Food Bank while the families who will use the food wait for them to finish. (Photos/Diane Glidewell) ter in Monroe County, but temporary housing is one of the needs that people often bring to Circle of Care. As well as leads to employment, Circle of Care tries to provide volunteer opportunities that can give experience and connections that may lead to employment. For more information about volunteering or applying for assistance, call Circle of Care at 478- 994-4939. Volunteers are also welcome to come to Christ UMC at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. The next distribution will be March 21. t, v Meyer Cardiology, PC Dr. Thomas Meyer, Cardiologist Monroe Regional Medical Complex 120 N, Lee Street Forsyth, GA 31029 Comprehensive Cardiac Services Call (478) 745-7456 Walker Chiropractic Clinic Dr. 5teven Walker 255 Tiff College Dr. Forsyth, GA Man - Wed, Fri: 9-6 Thu, Sat by Apt Physiologic Therapeutics Chiropractic Sports Physician Call (478) 994-1562 Jep Castleberry, RPH Laurie Parkerson, RPH Medicaid, Medicare & Most Insurance Accepted 67 North Lee St Forsyth, GA 31029 For All Your Pharmaceutical Needs Castleberry Drug Company Jep Castleberry, RPH Laurie Parkerson, RPH Medicaid, Medicare & Most Insurance Accepted 67 North Lee St. - Forsyth, GA 31029 For All "four Pharmaceutical Needs Call (478} 994-2051 Brandon S. Pinson, DVM Animal Medical Clinic of Forsyth 60 South Jackson St Forsyth, GA 31029 Man - Fri: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm Sat: 8:00 am ~ 12:30 pm animalmedicalclinicforsyth.cem Call (4713) 994-4986 Call Carolyn Martel to advertise your area of expertise! 478-960-2259 Forsyth Intervention Services & Training An~,er blar@~/-mer~, Subs:ar~ze AbLS~-'-, -, [ <","Fn General Co Jn ,eh. ~,~, and t, vlor ,t 32 East Main St Forsyth, GA 31029 Call (470) 236-3478 Deena Holliman Smith, DMD 205 Medical Court Forsyth, GA 31029 Man - Thu: 8:00 am - 5:30 pm General Dentistry Call (478) 994-1171 Georgia Dermatology Russell Harris, MD Deborah Moore, PA-C 101 Martin Luther King jr Drive Forsyth, GA 31029 Call (478) 994-5281 Monroe County Hospital 88 Martin Luther King Jr D:ive Forsyth, GA 3t029 Call (478) 994-2521 Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex 4660 Riverside Park Blvd Macon, GA .31210 Man - Fri: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm Call (478) 474-2114 Toll Free (800) 338-5141 @ Caldwell Veterniary Hospital, LLC Butler Caldwell, DVM 951 Hwy 41 South - Forsyth, GA 31029 Call (478) 994-8228 Call Carolyn Martel to advertise your area of expertise! 478-960-2259 Affordable Pet Care On The Morel Dr, Kevin D. Smith 478-973-7733 Mobile Veterinarian Forsyth,GA d r.smith@p ri