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Column: People are still hungry, and you can still help
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

There is a part of me that would like to delve into the current unrest in our country, however, I’m going to leave that alone.

One thing we can agree on is the nationwide protests have pushed some of the stories related to the coronavirus to the back burner. They aren’t gone, just not as prominent.

People are still hungry. I’m not suggesting that the food bank’s cupboard is completely bare; however, the demands for food are outpacing what is coming in.

There are hardworking people who would like to go back to their jobs. Some people who work in hotels and restaurants are not back at work because people are not dining out or staying in hotels. They may be getting unemployment, but often the amount they collect is not as much as what they earn at work. 

We have folks who live here that are multi-generational under one roof. There are a lot of mouths to feed. In some homes you see a husband and wife, a few kids and a grandparent or two. There also may be a cousin, uncle or aunt who is living there.

When there have been events where packages of food are distributed, the lines are often long. I have seen church parking lots without room for another car. People are waiting on the street for their turn to get in.

Folks who are in the food bank business have a unique ability to stretch a buck a long way. Sometimes, it borders on magic or miracle. When they least expect it, poof, a truck with more food is suddenly on the way.

Sometimes, cooking shows on TV have competitions where one of the stipulations is that they can only spend a limited number of dollars on the entire meal. I would put them up against our food bank any day. 

Last week, we began delivering a large bag containing five breakfasts and five lunches, plus milk for school kids at home for the summer. I watched a woman with three daughters struggle to carry the bags. She didn’t complain, she was grateful. I try to convey to her that we will be back about the same time next week. Under her load of food, she smiles and says thank you.

Hungry people are the most grateful people I’ve ever seen.  I drove a route this week that included part of a bus route I drove for several weeks earlier in the year. When I opened the door, the little girl lit up like a Christmas tree and said, “Oh, Mr. Harris, I knew it would be you.” She told her mother that I was the best bus driver in the world. Her stop was the last on my food route and we were one package short. I told them I would come back.

The mother was surprised when I came back. You get to be part delivery person and part Santa.  How does it get better than that?

Would you help our food bank? You can donate food or money. Those magicians over there will make it help as many folks as possible.

Here’s how you do it. You can make an online contribution to the food bank, by going to gamountainfoodbank.org. You can mail them a check at 1642 Calvary Industrial Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507.

On Saturday, June 20, we will have a drive-through contribution event under the south portico at First Baptist Church on Green Street. We’ll have all the protective gear on and you can bring a can or two or a dozen. Some folks like to give that way, and we will graciously accept it.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly. 

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