By Johnny Jackson
The smallest amount of loose change collected over a period of time can help provide meals to dozens of families, according to Lori Miller, executive director of Helping in His Name Ministries, Inc., Food Pantry in Stockbridge.
"Every penny counts," said Miller. She said small and large donations played a role in helping feed thousands of families in 2010.
The Henry County Farm Bureau is among the organizations that donate to the pantry, according to Miller.
"The [Henry County] Farm Bureau has always been a great partner with the food pantry," said Miller, noting the organization recently made a $45 donation for the food panty's Thanksgiving campaign.
For the year, 2010, the Henry County Farm Bureau donated a total of $95 collected from its customers and employees.
"That money purchased almost 594 pounds of food," Miller said. "That's a great blessing. Roughly 25 families were blessed with that food."
To collect the money, the Henry Farm Bureau office participated in the Georgia Farm Bureau's (GFB) annual fall harvest campaign, aimed at collecting food items and money for the state's food banks.
This year's campaign, known as the "Harvest For All," solicited cash donations over the 2010 holiday season, with county Farm Bureau offices combining their efforts to raise more than $20,000, according to GFB's Young Farmer Committee Coordinator Jed Evans.
Evans said the money was used to purchase peanut butter from peanuts grown and processed in Georgia. The peanut butter was distributed to the seven area affiliates of the Georgia Food Bank Association.
"These are difficult times for many people, and we haven't lost sight of that," said GFB President Zippy Duvall. "We feel that using our resources to care for those less fortunate is the right thing to do, and providing nutritious peanut butter was an easy choice. It's popular with kids and has a long shelf life."
The Henry County Farm Bureau, knowing the extent of the local need and giving ability, took a different approach this year, according to its office manager, Darlene Morley.
"We decided we would help here in Henry County," said Morley. "We felt like we needed to help the people of Henry County. We collected $45 from change given by our customers ... leading up to Thanksgiving."
The Clayton County Farm Bureau collected $510, during the campaign, by enlisting help from local businesses, according to its office manager, Teresa Myers.
"The contribution was due in large part to the letters sent out to businesses in the Clayton County area, as well as from the donations taken here at the Clayton County Farm Bureau office," Myers said. "The 'Harvest For All' is such a worthy cause, due to the fact that it helps so many people in the Clayton County area and surrounding counties as well."
Clayton County's collections were used in the statewide effort to purchase peanut butter for the area's network of food banks, which distribute tons of food to more than 2,000 'food for the needy' charities and agencies throughout Georgia.
To learn more about the GFB's annual 'food for the needy' efforts, visit the Georgia Farm Bureau web site at www.gfb.org.