Your opinion: Dec. 9, 2017

Published 1:42 pm Monday, December 11, 2017

Harvest of Hope is blessed
We opened the door of Harvest of Hope Food Pantry in June of 2013 with the following mission statement: “Responding to the call of Jesus Christ, the Harvest of Hope Food Pantry feeds the hungry, promotes physical and spiritual health, and brings people together in a community of love.”  From that first day until today, we have not departed from our mission statement.  Lewis Overholt was the first chairperson of the Board of Directors and was in the very first meeting that determined the directions of the food pantry. After three years, he and Mary moved to their retirement home. He came back in November for a short visit.  While he was here his love for the food pantry displayed itself when he, along with Jerry Dill, climbed up on the roof of the food pantry building to clean out the gutters. Thanks to Lewis and Jerry for doing a job that needed to be done.
November was a month of blessings for Harvest of Hope Food Pantry. Eight of the
schools in the community had food drives for Harvest of Hope. Those schools include: Sumter County Primary School, Sumter County Elementary School, Sumter County Intermediate School, Sumter County Middle School, Furlow Charter School, Americus-Sumter Ninth Grade Academy, Americus-Sumter High School, and Southland Academy. The non-perishable foods that were taken up in the school food drives supplement what we are able to distribute to our clients.
Ayden Battle, a six-year old, has set an example for all of us to follow as he expressed
his concern for the hungry of our community. At his lemonade stand, he gave a cup of lemonade to each person who donated canned goods or money for the food pantry. Later, he visited the food pantry and presented us with the canned goods and a check for the money collected. He has also collected money for other non-profits. What an example for all of us!
During the Thanksgiving season, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center employees also collected non-perishable food items for Harvest of Hope. The hospital is concerned about nutrition. To that end, they are going to provide some materials about nutrition to include with the December distribution.
The December food distribution will be made on December 20th and 21st. If you would like to volunteer to help with this distribution, please let us know. The December distribution requires a large number of workers because the entire month of food distribution occurs on the mornings and afternoons of those two days. This is done so that clients can have their food as closely as possible to Christmas. Harvest of Hope is grateful to several churches that selected one item and then asked their members to collect 800 of that one item. It is a blessing to the church and to those who receive the items. This helps to fulfill the desire of the churches to be in ministry in the community.
In November we were blessed with a special monetary gift from Agrium. We are very thankful for that gift which helps us obtain food that otherwise we would not be able to have.
We are also very thankful to each individual and each church who contributes on a regular basis to the ongoing ministry. We thank you that you trust us to help you fulfill your ministry in Sumter County.
Every day Harvest of Hope Food Pantry is blessed by Food Lion as they donate goods from each section of the store. In addition to the regular food distribution it enables us to give meat, bread, deli items, and produce items to our clients.
Seasonal items such as cabbage, green beans, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, pears, and other items are provided by local farmers. The clients always look forward to these fresh vegetables.
At times during the year, we receive chicken from Tyson which enables us to add to our regular distribution or sometimes as a special distribution.
We serve only the people of Sumter County, at the direction of a representative from USDA in Atlanta. We occasionally have people from other counties who come to apply for food.  When that happens we refer them to a food pantry or food bank in their area. One individual who came from another county said there was a food pantry in their area but that we gave out much better food.  Another lady said she only received a 50 pound bag of carrots and several bags of potato chips at the food pantry in her area.
We thank each of you for your support in 2017 and pray that your support will continue in 2018 so we can continue to do your work in this community. We thank each of you who help Harvest of Hope Food Pantry to exist and minister in your name. Jesus calls each of us to serve and tells us:  “In as much as you have done it unto the lease of these, you have done it unto me.”
Have a Blessed Christmas.
Sonny Pinckard
Executive Director