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Lovejoy center offering food, clothes, flu shots

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Lovejoy Community Center will be hosting a food-and-clothing giveaway today, and a flu-shot drive on Thursday.

Today, from 9 a.m., until supplies run out, the center will be hosting a U.S. Department of Agriculture Surplus Food Distribution event. In conjunction with the food giveaway, First Baptist Church of Lovejoy will empty its clothing closet, offering free clothes to anyone receiving food assistance.

Edward Thompson, coordinator of the Lovejoy Community Center, said today's giveaway is the last of three food distributions the center is hosting this year. He said the clothing giveaway will give the area's poor a chance to have some of their basic needs met.

"A lot of people fall through the cracks," Thompson said. "They make a little bit too much [to qualify for assistance], but they are still struggling. You don't know how much they light up when someone is willing to help them. If they pick up a bag of food, we [will] tell them they are welcome to pick out any of the clothes they want."

Mike Hardin, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lovejoy, said the church has three truckloads of clothes left over from its summer clothing drive. While the majority of the gently-used clothing is ladies' wear, there will also be a number items for men and children, and accessories such as handbags, he said.

"We're bringing the whole clothing pantry over here," Hardin said. "We had a big clothing drive this summer and we had a lot of clothes that we didn't give away. A lot of [the clothes left behind] were cooler-weather clothes ... We are hoping to give away the clothes this week."

Hardin said the clothes will be available this week at the Lovejoy Community Center, as long as supplies last. After Saturday, any remaining clothes will be donated to "Goodwill or another charity," Hardin said.

On Thursday, from 3 to 5 p.m., the Lovejoy Community Center will host a flu-shot drive, in which seniors receiving Medicare will be able to receive free, seasonal flu shots. Those without Medicare will be able to receive a flu shot for $25.

The flu shots will be provided by East Marietta Drugs of Marietta, and administered by Danna Pendleton, a registered nurse who works for the company and, from time to time, visits the Lovejoy Community Center to fit seniors for diabetic shoes. She said the shots will be made available to anyone over the age of 13, but that the drive is focused primarily on seniors.

"I will probably take around 200 [flu shots] with me," Pendleton said. "I don't expect that many [people to come], but I always try to be prepared. With this year being the year of the swine-flu scare, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is suggesting that everybody gets it."

Those between the ages of 13 and 18 coming in for a flu shot will need parental consent, according to Pendleton.

The Lovejoy Community Center is located at 11621 Hastings Bridge Road. For more information about the food-and-clothing giveaway, and the flu-shot drive, call (678) 479-8655.