LaGRANGE — Thousands of folks are checking off items on their grocery lists this week as they mentally prepare their savory and delectable dishes for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Dozens of agencies and churches in the community are doing the same, but they are buying in bulk to feed a family of hundreds. Denná Muncy said it is crunch time at the Feeding the Valley warehouse on Gordon Commercial Drive.
“People will try to rush in and get all their items,” she said. “It’s even busier because all the number of people they’ve planned to feed at the beginning of the year will practically double this month and next month because of the holidays.”
Muncy is the warehouse coordinator for the LaGrange site of the Feeding the Valley food bank. The location helps organizations feed people who are food insecure in Troup, Harris, Meriwether and Talbot counties.
The holidays and increased need of food is also why the National Homeless Coalition named Nov. 14 to 22 as National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.
According to the coalition’s website, this week is designed to “think about what we are thankful for … share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, and work toward a world where no one has to experience hunger and homelessness.”
Muncy said the unfortunate issue of people not having enough to eat continues to grow.
“We added another 25 agencies within the four counties that this warehouse serves,” she explained. “We also distributed more food this year than last year.”
In July, more than 15,000 people in Troup County were living below the poverty line – almost 5,000 of those were children, said Frank Sheppard, executive director of Feeding the Valley.
To make matters worse, the federal government has drastically cut back on the amount of surplus food items it donates to food banks nationwide, Muncy said in July.
But now, Muncy said things are starting to turn around.
“The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) … commodities are starting to come in and that is such a tremendous help,” she explained. “That is where we find our vegetables, like cranberry sauce and some meats.
“It also allows our agencies to shop below market value at 19 cents or 10 cents a pound. Then they can feed double the amount of families that are food insecure.”
Muncy said she will welcome the rush of shoppers into the LaGrange warehouse with open arms and an empty cart to fill with holiday goodies for those who are in need.
The Feeding the Valley warehouse in LaGrange is in desperate need of volunteers to unload food trucks and stock shelves.
Anyone interested in helping out is asked to call Denná Muncy at 762-822-1712.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.