Food pantry donations needed

Published 4:33 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

With the holidays fast approaching, the food banks in the area will be looking for more supplies to be donated to families in need.
Several area churches host food banks, while others share a central location.
First United Methodist Church of East Brewton has a food bank and distributes non-perishable food to those who are in need. The Rev. George Weaver said there is always a need to be filled.
“We have more and more people each year who need the food bank,” he said. “We try to keep not only food, but clothing, too. We receive food from the post office collection that they do every year. We also have a contest at the local schools in East Brewton that run an Auburn-Alabama food drive. That usually brings us a lot of what we need. We don’t have a regular day to give out the food, but if anyone is in need and wants our help, they can call the church.”
Jim Builder, who works for the Community Food Bank at First United Methodist Church of Brewton, said the organization sees an increase every year of those who are in need.
“We have given food to 1,155 families this year,” Builder said. “We serve as a dropoff for other churches and we get donated food from other sources. Every year, Piggly Wiggly grocery store has bags of food for their customers to buy for $5. Then the bags of groceries are brought to us and used in the pantry. We also get food from the post office collection that they have every year.”
Builder said donations are important this year.
“The need is greater than ever,” he said. “We give food to those in need on a quarterly basis. We try to let everyone know to try to put something back for use during the holidays.”
In recent years, the need for food pantries has grown, and many churches and organizations are making it a part of their natural outreach.
“It’s part of our mission work to reach out and help those in need,” said Samantha Barfield, secretary of New Beginnings, which started a food pantry this year. “So many people have helped us during the past few years and this is a small way to thank them for their help.”
The Brewton Police Department will be conducting a food drive this year. Non-perishable items such as canned meats, vegetables and fruits can be dropped off at the police department at 1010C Douglas Ave.
Sgt. Andrew Casey said the department will collect food until Nov. 23.
“I just had the idea one day and went to (Chief Monte McGougin) to see if he thought it was something we could do,” Casey said. “The chief thought it was a good idea. We are just getting started with the collection but I think it will be a success. We have placed the information on Facebook and will take donations. We are trying to reach the Red Cross for distribution. Red Cross has need for food just as they need shelter.”
Janet Byrd with Healing of the Soul ministry in East Brewton said they have started their own food pantry.
“We are expecting to receive 10,000 pounds of food from the Bay Area Food Bank and can feed 325 families,” Byrd said. “We are working with Full Gospel Community Church in Dixonville, Liberty Baptist Church and Shady Grove Community church. Anyone who would like to come and fill out applications can call me at 867-8810.”