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Sonny Pinckard: Busy time for local food pantry

It is a busy time at Harvest of Hope Food Pantry. On the final Tuesday in October we served 213 family units which is a record for a single distribution day. Everyone was busy without a break.
Often, when people donate to the food pantry, they ask, “How many items do you distribute each month?” For the most part, I say, “Every item helps feed our clients.” As I started writing this newsletter, I decided to see if I could determine about how many items we give out. Based on 679 families served in this month of October, we gave out 19,111 items. If you multiply this number by 12 months, the total is 229,332 items. This does not include all the sacks of fresh vegetables received during the year donated by local farmers or pears provided by gleaners. Thus, you can see that every item you donate to Harvest of Hope Food Pantry helps greatly, and we consider a help to our ministry. Also, monetary gifts that we receive from churches, organizations, and individuals enable us to acquire food from Second Harvest of South Georgia, as well as to purchase from grocery stores such as Food Lion in Americus, and wholesalers such as Pridgen Brothers in Cordele. We also receive donations from Food Lion and Harveys that enable us to have a variety of bread, produce, and meat items for distribution.
There are several upcoming events that you can attend and enjoy that will also benefit Harvest of Hope Food Pantry.
• Nov. 3 is the Empty Bowls annual fundraiser for Harvest of Hope Food Pantry from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Proceeds are divided between Harvest of Hope and Americus Arts.
• Nov. 10 is the Plains Car Show from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. During the car show there will be a 50/50 Fundraiser for the Food Pantry. Tickets available at the show. Drawing at 2:30 p.m.
• Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. is the Community Thanksgiving Service at St. Mary Catholic Church. You are invited to come to worship and bring a donation of cans of corn (15 oz. size).
• Nov. 27 has been designated as National Giving Day. This would be a great time to give: of you time as a volunteer, donate canned goods, make a financial donation to Harvest of Hope or pledge.
• Dec. 14 and 15 is the first Brickyard BBQ Bash at the Americus KOA at Brickyard Plantation. There will be a live band Saturday. Professional and cooking for fun barbecue competition is sanctioned by the Georgia BBQ Association. All proceeds will benefit Harvest of Hope Food Pantry.
Please join us at any or all of these events. All of these opportunities will be a blessing to the ministry of Harvest of Hope Food Pantry as work to minister in Sumter County.
David L. Reeves, from the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Family & Children Services, by letter made known to us that because we distribute USDA foods, we are only to provide for families that are residents of Sumter County. We are abiding by this instruction and making every effort to refer anyone residing outside of Sumter County to appropriate places to seek assistance.
In the previous newsletter, I talked about some of the vegetables that we distribute every month. We are able to give those items out as we have access to them. But there is one item that we give every client every month: peanut butter. Since we opened our doors in June 2013, we have never missed a month giving peanut butter. I don’t know how many jars of peanut butter that is, but it would make a lot of peanut butter sandwiches. When we opened in June 2013, we did not have a large quantity of vegetables or anything else for that matter, but we had 6,500 jars of peanut butter.
Our December distribution will be Dec. 19 and 20. We will pack bags on Dec. 18. If you would like to have a lot of serious fun, come join us from 7 a.m. until on Dec. 18 and from 8:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20. You don’t have to wait until December. If you would like to volunteer, you can come from 7:30-9 a.m. on Mondays and/or from 7-11 a.m. Tuesdays, except when there is a fifth Tuesday. We pack and distribute even on holidays when the holiday comes on a Monday or Tuesday. We will be glad to have you.
Please pray for us that this ministry in Sumter County will truly accomplish God’s will. I would not dare to try to carry out this ministry if it were not empowered by Him. Come and pray with us as we begin each Monday and Tuesday mornings of pray for us and stay and see the fellowship of service.
Thank you for your support and for your prayers. Thanks to each of you for any and every way that you support Harvest of Hope Food Pantry. God bless you.

Sonny Pinckard is executive director, Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, Americus.