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Food distribution helps fight hunger

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    Cars line up at the food distribution at Carol’s Park, waiting their turn to get a box of food. ALAINA MINSHEW/Staff

Communities in Schools of Central Georgia and JACOR teamed up to host a food distribution at Carol’s Park Oct. 24, helping residents of Jones County with a box of food to combat food insecurity and hunger.

Taryn Collinsworth, executive director of Communities in Schools, said she was happy to help those in Jones County however she could. She said she just couldn’t say no to such a great cause.

“I got a call from SYSCO, and they had food that had not been delivered to Jones County. They asked me if I would be interested in hosting a food distribution, so that’s what we did,” she said. “I reached out to Jonathan Pitts with JACOR, because he knew about getting volunteers for this. Anybody who needed food could have stopped by.”

She said people didn’t have to provide any kind of identification or verify their income to get a box of food. She said food insecurity is a huge issue across the nation, so she wanted the food to go to those in Jones County who really needed it.

“It is a big deal in this place and time. There are people who have lost their jobs and people are really beginning to feel the effects of what is happening. They are just trying to pay their bills, stay in their houses, and by the time they get to their food, the money is gone,” Collinsworth said.

The executive director said in some parts of the county there are families who are food insecure. She said the box of food is a good way to get healthy and nutritious foods into the homes of those who really need something a little healthier.

“I’ve seen children trying to take boxes before because they’re so hungry,” she said. “These boxes weigh 22 pounds. I’ve had mothers call me and cry. This isn’t normally what I do, but who can say no to feeding people in our county?”

According to www.feedingamerica.org, 11.9 percent of people in Jones County were food insecure in 2018. Around 17.6 percent of children in Jones County were found to be food insecure in Jones County in 2018.

Jonathan Pitts is the Chairman of JACOR and also serves as a Jones County Commissioner. He said helping with the food distribution shows how many in Jones County need food. He said he was glad he could help in any way possible.

“For us to be able to give away 600 boxes here, there has to be a need. We definitely have food insecurity in this county. First Baptist, Jordan Chapel, Real Life Church, and Sonrise Ministries each give away 200 boxes of food when they do their food drives. That’s approximately 800 families getting food each month,” he said.

He said it’s beautiful that the churches come together to feed God’s people. He said these are times when the churches gather for good outside of service, so he’s happy JACOR could show the same love.

“Just serving people is my favorite part of all this,” Pitts said. “To serve and minister people is the reason I think we’re all here. When you have an opportunity to do so, you take advantage of it.”

Collinsworth said if people want to reach out on Facebook to donate canned goods or other items, that would be helpful. She said if people want to donate mostly food items, reaching out to Middle Georgia Community Food Bank would be best.

“My favorite part of helping with this food distribution is knowing someone is being able to eat today who may not have been able to otherwise,” she said. “I can’t imagine being hungry. Knowing this helps them in some way is just great.”

To reach out to Communities in Schools of Central Georgia, visit https://www.facebook.com/CISofCentralGA/. To donate food items to Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, visit https://mgcfb.org.