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Leadership Hall County prepares Thanksgiving meals for needy families

POSTED: November 22, 2013 12:55 a.m.

Needy families in Hall County will have a full meal to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

The Leadership Hall County Class of 2014, a program of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce that focuses on the education and development of existing and emerging leaders, partnered with the Georgia Mountain Food Bank for its annual service project: providing meals for the hungry this upcoming holiday.

On Thursday afternoon, leadership class volunteers gathered at the food bank to sort the meals and prepare a mobile pantry distribution service, which will deliver the boxed dinners to families for the holiday.

Between Oct. 10 and Nov. 7, the group raised $1,500 to fund the project. The group surpassed its goal and raised more than $3,000. The additional money will go to the food bank.

The funds purchased 200 birds and a variety of canned goods that provided full, complete Thanksgiving dinners to be distributed to hungry families.

Purchases also included coffee, fruit, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and turkey gravy packets.
Dana Miller, chamber vice president of education, oversaw the activities.

“Every year, the Leadership Hall County class is presented with a variety of different service projects. They collectively as a group get together and vote on which project they are going to do,” she said.

One class member, Clay Pilgrim, serves on the board of the food bank and presented the idea of partnering with the food bank to the 33-member class. Pilgrim and Co-Chairwoman Kelley Robertson helped coordinate the project with the rest of the class.

The number of hungry families in need locally was the inspiration for the project, Pilgrim said.

“Not a lot of people are aware of just how much hunger we have in our area. The food bank does great work in our community, and I thought (it would be great) if we could pair the chamber and the great work they do and work together as a team to do what we can at Thanksgiving for hunger,” Pilgrim added.

Volunteers worked together in assembly lines to pack boxes with food and sort supplies. More than 200 boxes were set up in a mobile pantry truck, which headed to Antioch Baptist Church in Gainesville shortly after the sorting.

Kay Blackstock, executive director at the food bank, said a big crowd was expected at the mobile pantry distribution.

“We are taking additional food for overflow, just in case,” she said, adding, “we sure don’t want people to go away empty-handed, but we’ll be very careful about that and monitor as we go through the process. It’s something to smile about; it’s an injection into a community where they really need it. As often as we can do that, we (do).”

Miller added, “This class has gone above and beyond to make sure this project is a huge success. They recognize the need for this as well, to serve families and to give back to our community.”


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