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Food drives address growing community needs

Baskets of donated canned goods began pouring into the Stockbridge-based Helping in His Name Ministries, Inc., Food Pantry about a week ago to assist the ministry in fulfilling the community’s holiday needs.

Baskets of donated canned goods began pouring into the Stockbridge-based Helping in His Name Ministries, Inc., Food Pantry about a week ago to assist the ministry in fulfilling the community’s holiday needs.

The piles of donated canned goods began to stack up at the Stockbridge-based food pantry just a week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

These first offerings will aid Helping in His Name Ministries, Inc., Food Pantry in fulfilling a hefty need within the Henry County community.

The food pantry has served 10,956 families and 33,773 total people year-to-date, according to Lori Miller, who retired this month as director of operation. She was replaced by Gay Calhoun.

Miller said among those served this year through the pantry, 13,639 have been children under the age of 18, and 1,931 have been senior citizens, over the age of 65.

“The need has increased, and this year, due to the economy, we’ve certainly seen a drop in donations compared to years past,” said Miller. “We hope that people, as they’re sharing with their families this holiday season, they will remember others.”

For the past two weeks, volunteers have been collecting donated food items and goods from local schools, businesses, and churches, according to David Hansen, volunteer food drive coordinator for Helping in His Name Ministries, Inc., Food Pantry.

Hansen said the pantry’s inventory had run low, with several empty shelves, before he and other volunteers began gathering collections from local food drives earlier this month.

This year’s list of food drive participants included 22 public schools, seven businesses, five private schools, four banks, and an apartment complex.

Georgia Power, according to Miller, has been a consummate regular supporter of The Food Pantry over its long history in Henry County.

“We’ve been serving the community for 21 years,” Miller said. “We are a steadfast 501c3 [non-profit organization], and the need is not going to go away.

“The need is still here,” she continued. “And we are grateful that we’re here. We could not do it without the support of the community.”

Miller lauded employees at Georgia Power’s Customer Care Center, in McDonough, who collected 3,500 pounds of food to donate to the pantry, and the Georgia Power Foundation recently awarded the organization a $2,500 check.

Ameris Bank’s Stockbridge branch recently donated $406.50, along with 154 pounds of food items. In October, the bank branch took part in a “Hunger Awareness Month” campaign by hosting its Second Annual Ameris Bank: Helping to Fight Hunger food drive.

Miller said individuals and families can contribute to the pantry’s mission regularly by taking part in its Proverbs 19:17 Donor Program. The program stems from the biblical passage Proverbs 19:17. The passage reads: “When you lend to the poor, you lend to the Lord, and that which you have given He will repay.”

As a Proverbs 19:17 Donor, individuals and families, are asked to give $19.17 monthly. Miller said donors may also give canned food items, and personal hygiene products.

The food pantry’s hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 9 a.m., until 1 p.m.; and Tuesday and Thursday, from 6 p.m., until 8 p.m. All clients are seen by appointment only. For an appointment, call (678) 565-6135. To learn more about the pantry, and how to volunteer or donate, visit www.helpinginhisname.org.