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Food pantry seeks more support as need grows

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Helping in His Name Ministries, Inc., Food Pantry officials are hoping to garner more corporate support for the non-profit organization's food ministries.

"Everything that we get is totally donations," said Nola Love, president of the Stockbridge-based pantry. "We're a non-profit that works to try to feed the people, and we have very few businesses that support us."

Love said she has been pleased, however, by the continued support from some corporations, such as Publix Super Markets Atlanta Division.

She said Publix raised more than $447,000 for non-profit groups throughout the region, during the annual Food For All fund-raiser, held between Nov. 15, 2009, and Dec. 26, 2009. Of which, she said, The Food Pantry received about $950 donated by local Publix customers, who were given the opportunity at local stores to make $1, $3 or $5 contributions.

"Thanks to the generosity of our customers, more dozens of regional and local food banks, food pantries and other non-profit agencies will benefit," said Brenda Reid, manager of media and community relations at Publix Super Markets Atlanta Division. "The Food For All fund-raising campaign is a simple and effective way for our associates and customers to give back to their communities."

The Food Pantry receives the bulk of its donations from individuals, and community organizations, such as churches and clubs, but has managed to keep a steady flow of corporate support to help meet its rising needs, said Lori Miller, the pantry's executive director. The needs, however, are rapidly out-growing the support this summer, she said.

"We probably have at least 25 corporate sponsors that give us support on a regular basis, but we need more," Miller said. "The need is still great. We're still finding people not able to find employment, and many people that we serve have been unemployed for a year to two years."

Year-to-date, The Food Pantry has served nearly 17,000 people and more than 5,800 families, explained Miller, who added that the group serves more than 1,000 families monthly.

"We have found that donations have decreased, "she said. "And it usually decreases through the summer months, even though the need for help increases. These families need more food now, because they need extra meals at home now, because the children are out of school."

The pantry has been trying different methods to support its mission to feed the area's needy families, according to Miller. She said one such method includes Nola Love's idea of creating individual sponsorships for residents, to commit to donating $10 per month for one year.

"I would like to have a thousand donors who could help us by donating $10 monthly," said Love, who hopes to gain some financial backing later this summer, when The Food Pantry celebrates its 20th year of operation in Henry County.

Organizers are planning a 20th Anniversary Celebration for Aug. 14, at the Locust Grove Conference Center, 280 Mose Brown Drive in Locust Grove. To learn more about the celebration, Love said, residents should contact The Food Pantry, at (678) 565-6135.