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Southern Regional latest to help with donations to food pantry

By Ed Brock

Bobbie Davis hasn't had time to clean the bird cage at Kinship Care Resource Center in Jonesboro.

She's been too busy accepting donations from members of the community who have more than made up for the loss the center suffered when thieves cleaned out their food pantry two weeks ago.

"My paperwork is like this," Davis said, holding finger and thumb one inch apart.

On Monday the employees of Southern Regional Medical Center made their contribution to the center on Tara Boulevard which operates under the Clayton County Aging Program and provides services to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. They brought a van full of food and school supplies as well as a check for $800.

"We've got a varied assortment," said Ed Bonn, president and CEO of Southern Regional Health System.

Three weekends ago Davis discovered that somebody had taken almost all of the food out of the basement storeroom. The thieves apparently carried their loot over a tall fence topped with barbed wire into an apartment complex behind the center on Tara Boulevard.

Police are still looking for suspects.

When SRMC spokesman Rick Smith heard the story he went to Bonn for permission to organize an appeal to hospital employees for donations. Smith said a large number of the employees responded to the appeal.

"It was a group thing. All of us kind of had the same idea," Smith said.

Karrie Harris of Riverdale, who has custody of her 18-month-old granddaughter and 8-year-old grandson, is making thank you notes for all of the center's supporters. All of the grandparents who benefit from the center will sign the cards and Harris said they wanted them to be more unique and personal rather than store-bought cards.

"Because it is from our hearts. We really do appreciate everybody's help," Harris said.

The center exists to support a growing section of the senior population in which older people become the custodians of their young grandchildren for various reasons.

Some of these grandparents must survive on around $560 in money from Social Security payments and foodstamps, said Kinship Care Program Director Angie Burda.