The holidays are a few weeks away, and many Gordon Countians will soon gather with loved ones to celebrate with Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas hams.
But not everyone gets this luxury. Many residents in Gordon County depend on food donations to make it through the holidays
In fact, the Voluntary Action Center’s food pantry serves around 400 to 600 people per month, with that number increasing during the holidays, said Stacy Long, VAC director.
And with the VAC’s shelves almost empty, Long is looking to the VAC’s annual food drive to help fill them. The VAC will begin collecting donations through the Fired Up Food Drive at various fire stations throughout the county, beginning Monday, Oct. 31.
This is a change from previous years when the organization has collaborated with city and county schools to collect can food donations; this year VAC has initiated “a friendly competition” between County and City Fire Departments.
“It’s always been a school competition, but this year we are shifting gears,” said Long.
Students and schools will still be collecting donations, she said, but the actual canned food collection competition will be between the fire departments. Long said this year she wanted to choose local public servants to help out with the cause.
“City and County Fire Departments support each other and they have always been so generous whenever we have a need,” she said.
Byron Sutton, assistant Gordon County fire chief, echoed Long’s sentiments about the relationship between County and City Fire Departments and added, “ It’s just friendly competition.”
He emphasized the fact that the end goal is food collection and said he wouldn’t even mind if the city fire department collected the most.
“We’ll give the trophy (figurative, there’s a not real trophy) to the City Fire Department today if we can stock the shelves,” he said.
The Food Drive
Long said last year the VAC collected more than 50,000 non-perishable items from the food drive, but the food pantry is almost empty.
Although all canned foods are welcome, Long said the organization is really looking for items with meat or a good source of protein. Canned chili, canned meats, peanut butter, breakfast bars are all in great need, she said.
Long said ready-to-eat items, such as cheese and crackers, pop tarts, cereal and breakfast bars, are also needed, along with dry or evaporated milk.
Those interested in donating can do so at anytime to any Calhoun fire station or at County fire station 5 (in Resaca) and station 1 (near the Outlet Mall), said Sutton.
He also said residents can donate canned goods at the Sonoraville Recreation Center during normal business hours.
The collection period will end Nov. 11, but the VAC always welcomes donation any time of the year, said Long.
To get involved or to get more information, contact Roberta Charbonneau, Family Connection coordinator, at 706-602-5139.