By Johnny Jackson
Henry County, on Tuesday, will host its semiannual U.S. Department of Agriculture Surplus Food Distribution.
The multi-county food distribution program is organized through the Clayton County Community Services Authority, according to Locust Grove Mayor Lorene Lindsey, who is the food-distribution site coordinator for Henry County.
Lindsey said that twice a year, in May and September, the project supplies various non-perishable foods to the area's low-income families and elderly citizens.
"It's a project that's very dear to my heart," said Lindsey, who has worked with the project since 1983. "Working with seniors, the low income and the elderly are my passion."
Lindsey said she relies on volunteers to keep the project running.
"All of this is done by volunteers," she said. "We get trucks from the Henry County DOT [Department of Transportation] and help from trusties at the Henry County Sheriff's Office, and our community volunteers help us sort and distribute the food."
Henry County's upcoming food distribution program begins Tuesday at 8 a.m., and will continue through 12 p.m., or until the food supplies have been exhausted. Clayton County officials plan to host their food distribution program on Wednesday from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m.
The food distribution will be held at three locations in Henry County: Stockbridge Presbyterian Church, at 4740 North Henry Blvd., in Stockbridge; the Henry County Public Safety Complex Conference Room, at 108 Zack Hinton Parkway in McDonough; and at Locust Grove City Hall, 3644 Ga. Highway 42 in Locust Grove.
Clayton County will have two distribution sites: the Clayton County Community Services Authority, 1000 Main St., in Forest Park; and at the Lovejoy Community Center, 116 Hastings Bridge Road in Hampton.
More people than in years past stand to benefit from the food distribution program, said Lisa Teague, one of the project's community relations liaisons in Henry County.
"Especially with the economy being in the shape that it's in, I'd imagine there are a lot more people interested in participating due to their financial situation," Teague said. "This is just an excellent way for them to receive some additional help with feeding their families."
Next week, there are a total of 1,450 bags of non-perishable goods (456 bags in Henry and 994 bags in Clayton) available to families and individuals in Henry and Clayton counties, said Clayton County Community Services Authority Community Support Director Jamminese Miller.
For many, she said, the bags of food are a supplement to their primary food source.
"Right now, a lot of families are out of work," Miller said. "They don't have any money and they don't have any food. Families are really stretching their food dollars. This project gets them through the end of the month, until they can afford to buy more food."
Miller added that participation in the food distribution program is limited and based on household income. She said participants should be able to provide proof of income, proof of residency, and show photo identification.
For more information about the food distribution program, call the Clayton County Community Services Authority at (404) 363-0575.