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Navigating Tough Times - Finding Food

Navigating Tough Times is a series of blogs devoted to helping those who are less fortunate find resources for getting through daily living challenges. First blog is on finding food.

There are enough of us navigating challenging economic situations today that we are hardly a minority anymore. 

About a week ago, my landlord asked me if I knew anyone who wasn’t suffering health problems or who hadn’t been struck by tragedy and it took me a full fifteen minutes to come up with a name.  Part of that is by virtue of my age; however, much of it is just that during desperate times it seems that there are more blows than ever -- because when you’re already on the brink, it only takes one disaster to push you over the edge. 

In an effort to present alternatives to those who are in need and may not qualify for federal or state programs, I’ve researched ways folks might qualify to get assistance elsewhere.  There is a lot of ground to cover, so this article will focus on a most desperate need:  food.  Subsequent blogs will deal with other challenges such as clothing, medical care and the like. 

Cherokee County is particularly fortunate to have a number of food pantries which assist those who cannot get help elsewhere, or who need to have their federal/state benefits augmented.  Several of them offer services beyond just food.  Each of them has guidelines which have to be followed, and readers will have to research what those are and be willing to provide the necessary documentation, etc. 

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of every facility willing to
provide help; however, these are the most well-known and established
benefactors with whom I am personally acquainted and have been for years. 

For readers who have no need and are blessed to be in a position to do so, I would encourage you to consider donating personally or organizing food drives for any of these facilities.  They provide a great service to the people of Cherokee County, doing their part to relieve the burden of federal/state programs to be entirely responsible for the provision of those in need. 

Lest you think the needs are not significant, consider these statistics, taken directly from Storehouse Ministries’ website: 

  • More than 16 million children in America live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That's 1 out of 5 kids.
  • There were also over 16.4 million children in America living in poverty in 2010. That's almost 1 million more than in 2009.
  • 9.8 million children get free or reduced-price school breakfast on an average school day, more than ever before...but 10.5 million eligible kids go without.
  • Only 1 in 7 kids who get free and reduced-priced school lunches receive summer meals.
  • Almost 45 million Americans used SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) during 2011. Nearly 75% of these are in families with children, and more than 25% are in households with seniors or people with disabilities. 

Congress just passed a bill to reduce funding for most of the federal programs that provide for the children, elderly and disabled by reducing monies which will be distributed to the food stamp and free school lunch programs.  What that means in plain English is that more of the distribution of food to the needy will fall at the feet of the organizations listed below.  Again, if you’re able to donate time, food, money, or organize a food drive for any of these organizations, you’ll be doing what we all “say” we want to do, which is to take personal responsibility for caring for our neighbors rather than expecting the U.S. or state governments to do so. 

Presented in alphabetic order, the food pantries are: 

First Baptist Church of Woodstock:  Through their CARE Ministries program, First Baptist provides food boxes up to 5 times a year for church members or residents of Cherokee County. They work in conjunction with Storehouse Ministries, have yearly food drives and receive donations from many local businesses.  Contact Information:  Care Ministries:  678-494-2692,
Storehouse Ministries (registration) 770-422-3347  (Limited hours of distribution) Website:  http://www.fbcw.org/food-pantry/

MUST Ministries:  MUST is such a fixture in community provision in Cherokee County, having served for over forty years, it’s hard to believe anyone wouldn’t know about them, but Ministries United in Service and Training provides food to those in need and so much more.  Services are open Mondays - Fridays 10 am - 2:00 pm. Donations accepted Mondays - Fridays 7:30 am - 3:30 pm.  Contact
information:  Cherokee Day Services:  770-479-5397 Website: 
http://www.mustministries.org/about.html

Papa’s Pantry:  The mission of Papa's Pantry is to help individuals and
families re-establish stability and self-reliance by offering a variety of
programs including immediate food assistance, employment strategies, and life
skills through hands-on support and ongoing training.  Contact information:  Woodstock Location:  770-591-4730   Canton Location:  770-479-0729   (Food assistance by appointment only) Website:  http://papaspantry.com/

Timothy’s Cupboard:  In November 1991, Timothy Lutheran Church opened Timothy's Cupboard, a food ministry to help less fortunate families living in Cherokee County. The food bank is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. by appointment only.  In 2011, the Cupboard distributed 133.77 tons of food throughout the county.  Contact information:  For assistance,  to volunteer, or donate contact Timothy's Cupboard at 770-591-5515. Website:  https://tlcwoodstock.ctsmemberconnect.net/home-ctrl.do?view=3&grpId=2836

Woodstock Christian Church:  Open Thursdays from 10:00 am – 11:30 am, WCC provides immediate needs assistance to individuals and families residing within a 5-mile radius of the church up to four times annually.   Contact information:  770-926-8238  Website: http://woodstockchristian.org/foodpantry.html

Whether you need help or know someone who does, these wonderful organizations bless Cherokee County and its residents beyond belief.  Again, please consider donating to one or all of them. Just as Americans did during the Great Depression, we can get through tough times by helping one another. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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