Feeding the need
Published 5:20 pm Monday, November 19, 2007
By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
Tucked inside Brewton's First United Methodist Church, the area food pantry and its volunteers work hard every day of the year to make sure that those in need have enough to eat.
While their work continues year-round, Thanksgiving is naturally a time when more donations are contributed to the food bank.
The Food Pantry has been around so long that the current workers had to guess about when it began. Most think it has been around at least 15 years, and most of the workers credit Ellen Hayes as the one who organized it.
Although the food pantry is located at First United Methodist, it gets food items from other area churches and from collections by school children and other organizations.
Most of the year, Diercks said, volunteers actually prefer monetary donations.
Anyone who needs emergency food assistance must bring a recent power bill as proof of address to receive a food bag. Households may receive one bag of groceries per quarter in an emergency situation. The bags of groceries may be picked up from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.
Diercks, who is new to the job, said she is still learning the process. She and Ann Scott are at the church every Tuesday morning to take applications and distribute the bags of groceries.
Scott said those recipients of the grocery bags are always appreciative, and some of them have responded with help in the pantry after their circumstances improve.
All of the schools have participated at one time or the other. This year, the children of W.S. Neal Elementary School combined the collection of food and backing their favorite college football teams between Auburn University and the University of Alabama. The children collected 365 items of food for the University of Alabama and 277 items for Auburn University.
Grocery stores also contribute and promote the help of others by bagging groceries for the public to purchase. This Thanksgiving, for the cost of $5 each bag, Piggly Wiggly donates the food in the bags to the food pantry.
Other area groups are working this Thanksgiving to help provide for those in need. At least one church, Divine Temple, will be serving a traditional dinner. The meal will be served at Speedy Lube on Douglas Avenue beginning at 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving and will be served as long as the food lasts.