Food pantries need help this holiday season
Thanksgiving and Christmas usually represent the most generous season of the year. Concern is mounting, however, that food pantries in Davidson County have become forgotten amidst the holiday bustle.
Fairgrove Family Resource Center and Cooperative Community Ministry lack sufficient food for those who need assistance. Grants and other funding sources are essential to the Thomasville organizations, but greater support is needed from caring individuals who want to make a difference.
"Thomasville Christian Cathedral brought us meals, and then we had a local school bring us more meals, so we've been able to give out some Thanksgiving dinners out we haven't had in the past," said Terri Nelson, executive director. "The problem is that we're going through over 20,000 pounds of food a month, and we can't keep the food coming in as quickly as it's going out."
To date this calendar year, Fairgrove Family Resource Center has collected 194,169 pounds of food.
Cooperative Community Ministry also hopes that more individuals will donate.
"We're doing all right, but we must have people to continue supporting people with food and financial assistance." said CCM Executive Director Stephanie Strickland.
CCM hopes to secure food donations during Winterfest, which runs through December. Collection containers are located at the Thomasville Parks and Recreation tennis courts on W. Main Street, where a temporary ice skating rink is located.
Both agencies face a huge obstacle. A major source of food — Second Harvest Food Bank — is in peril.
Last year, more than 50 percent of the food Fairgrove Family Resource Center distributed to more than 1,000 hungry Thomasville families on a monthly basis came from Second Harvest.
"Second Harvest's volumes have been dramatically cut due to state and federal budget cuts," Nelson said. "So you're looking at 50 percent less in one category of government food. We're feeding more people with less food and lower monetary donations, which are critical for us. We don't have the supply to meet the demand."
According to the most recent Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study (2011), 28.3 percent of children in the county are at risk of hunger and lack sufficient food to meet their nutritional needs. Nelson says the need has only grown over the last two years.
"In Davidson County, one in every three children is hungry," she said. "It feels like a sinking black hole, that we're being ignored. Davidson County is being ignored."
Food items needed include beef stew, chicken and dumplings, peanut butter, oatmeal, canned fruits and vegetables, rice and milk. Freezers at the pantries are barren.
To help or for more information, call Fairgrove Family Resource Center at 472-7217 or Cooperative Community Ministry at 476-1842.
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.