Commonwealth Journal

News Live

November 21, 2011

God’s Food Pantry brings holiday dinner to needy

Somerset — Every year around this time, grocery stores aisles are filled with folks selecting the finest turkey or most delectable side dishes for their upcoming Thanksgiving feast.

That is, if they have the money. With more than 46 million Americans living in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers, many simply don’t have the money necessary to purchase the makings of Thanksgiving dinner. That’s as true here in Pulaski County as it is anywhere.

That’s where God’s Food Pantry comes in.

Around 300 are families are expected to benefit from the Pantry’s annual Thanksgiving basket distribution effort, according to Debbie Long, executive director of the local organization.

“We try to do it every year,” said Long. “It depends upon the donations and what we can afford to do. ... We’ve just had such an increase in the number of families we’ve been able to help and provide for over the years.”

A Thanksgiving basket from God’s Food Pantry may include a turkey or turkey breast; containers of stuffing and cranberry sauce; cans of vegetables, such as green beans, corn, and peas; and if available, a pie or dessert.

Food is being distributed today and tomorrow. The Pantry will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and on Friday.

One thing that’s proven bountiful is the amount of help at the Pantry’s call. Long said that “quite a few” volunteers have shown up to help the cause.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Sherry Simpson, who has been volunteering for the last three years at God’s Food Pantry. “There’s been a huge increase in need due to the economy lately.”

Even if numbers are strong, Long said there are still some opportunities available for “a few individuals” to volunteer during the holiday season.

“(Volunteers) like to be able give back, helping at the Pantry Thanksgiving through Christmas in various ways,” said Long, “whether organizing a food drive or bringing their kids here when they’re out of school to help as a family. It’s always a good project for them, something they can feel good about.”

The Pantry is taking registrations until December 1 for the Christmas basket of edible goodies, another annual tradition.

It’s the busy season for God’s Food Pantry, certainly. Long noted that in the last week, an average of 60 families per day came in to receive assistance.

“The majority of people are very grateful to be able to come and get that extra something to provide for their families that they wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise,” said Long.

A number of local organizations and business sponsors helped make the holiday food rush possible for God’s Food Pantry. Align Chiropractic, Cooper Chiropractic and Active Chiropractic, Forcht Banks and First & Farmers, Somerset Family Fitness, Sign-A-Rama, The Mirror, Pro Touch Styling Salon, Eagle Realty, Hardee’s, Bestway Rent-to-Own, Action Athletic, Alton Blakley Honda and Alton Blakley Mazda, the Shops at Vendor’s Village, West Somerset Family Pharmacy, the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, Duraflame, and Lake Cumberland Hospital all took donations or contributed help in some way. The Pisgah School House held a fundraiser for the Thanksgiving meal, and Science Hill Church of the Nazarene did a food drive, as did a group from Somerset Community College and one from county attorney Martin Hatfield’s office.

People receiving the Thanksgiving basket are from the Pantry’s general client list who are eligible for donations.

To learn more about the Thanksgiving baskets or to ask about volunteering, contact God’s Food Pantry at 606-679-8560.

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