Food Distribution Day in Plains Draws Volunteers from Rotary and GSW

Published 8:03 am Monday, August 21, 2023

The monthly food distribution in Plains took place August 19th. Jennifer Olsen, an organizer for the giveaway, explained how it unfolds.
“Every month on the third Saturday we have hundreds of cars and usually serve about three hundred families with food including today milk, chicken, fish, fruit, and vegtables.”
She stated how long it had been running.
“For probably over four years. Mrs. Carter started this. Before the pandemic she’d be out here at the end of the line giving away the bread at the end of the line as every car came through.”
She told how several organizations were involved.
“This was started as a ministry out of Maranatha Baptist church but today you see we’ve got students from GSW, the leadership program, student athletes, Americus Rotary Club, and a number of other community members.”
“Today we’ve had about fifty volunteers, which is great. And we love to always have volunteers, showing up at eight a.m. the third Saturday of every month.”
Alainey Breaux was one of the freshmen volunteers from Georgia Southwestern. She described how she came to participate.
“I’m in the president Jimmey Carter leadership program.”
“We do a bunch of community service and so this is our first big event.”
She told how volunteering is a core part of the program.
“At the end of our three or four years we get a certificate in leadership, and it will help with our resumes. We take leadership classes, we’re all involved in campus, and the community outside of campus, doing a bunch of community service and it’s just a big group that just goes and helps people.”
Another volunteer, Jan Williams, described the impetus behind the giveaway.
“This is what our good Lord did. He gave to others who didn’t have enough.”
“We’ve had several people who joined our church, because they see that we’re a working church.”
She talked about the issues affecting Plains residents.
“We have a lot of people in the Plains area who don’t have vehicles.”
“I’ve been to deliver to eight different families who don’t have a vehicle and they live too far to walk. We try to meet the needs of our community. Many of them do not have enough assistance to last a whole month. We do it in the middle of the month, the third Saturday of every month. We never know what we’re going to get until we get our paperwork but we try to figure [it] out. We usually have close to three hundred families who come so we figure out what we can give out so hopefully we don’t have much left over.”
She expressed gratitude for the student volunteers.
“We’re very, very fortunate to have Georgia Southwestern.”
She also mentioned the donors who supplied the food.
“Our food comes out of Valdosta. We do make a quarterly contribution to the place in Valdosta. It would never pay for all of this food. A lot of this food is donated from companies as well as maybe some grocery stores who have excess stock that might be reaching their expiration date.”
She mentioned that rotary was crucial for their operations during the summer when students we not on campus.
Rotarian Laura McConatha talked about how the Rotary became involved.
“I joined Rotary a couple of years ago and was service chair. That’s when I first brought the idea to our board.”
“We’ve been heavily involved for the past two years. We decided to take this on as a service project. We knew that they really needed our help over here, especially during the summer, when the students aren’t around to help us out, and during November and December when the students are home on holiday break.”
“We wanted them to know there would always be at least four, usually four to eight, Rotarians here every single month.”
She told how the experience had affected her.
“Getting to see the people you are helping is really impactful.”