Volunteers working to feed hungry

Published 1:22 pm Thursday, December 24, 2009

A local woman is making it her mission to feed hungry people in Decatur County with the help of other volunteers.

Patricia Anderson, a paraprofessional at Hutto Middle School, recently started the Someone Who Cares Soup Kitchen, in partnership with West Bainbridge Methodist Church and Harvest America and Beyond Ministries.

On Dec. 5, Anderson and her group of volunteers served more than 100 spaghetti plates and cake for free to people who were in need of a meal. The event was held in the fellowship hall of West Bainbridge Methodist Church on Dothan Road.

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Anderson said the church’s pastor, Jean Watson, is assisting the soup kitchen. Watson has offered to allow a former parsonage on the church’s property to be renovated into a permanent space for the soup kitchen, with additional rooms that could store clothing, housewares, Bibles, books and supplies that needy people could use.

Last September, members of Anderson’s church, Spring Creek Baptist on Lake Seminole, cooked chicken and rice and served plates from a portable trailer set up on South Scott Street in central Bainbridge. The food was donated by Harvest America and Beyond Ministries, led by Pastor Doug Chason. Gideons volunteers from Spring Creek Baptist distributed free Bibles in English and Spanish.

Anderson said she felt moved to start feeding hungry people for free after finding out that about 70 percent of students in Decatur County schools receive lunches for free or at a reduced price.

Talking with the pastors at her church, Anderson was directed to Chason, who collects and stores food at his church on Georgia 97 South in Bainbridge. Through Chason, Anderson was directed to the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia, which distributes food and grocery items through partner agencies. The Food Bank also regularly takes free food to people using a mobile pantry.

Anderson hopes to begin opening her soup kitchen to serve meals on a weekly basis. She said she needs help from the community and from any churches who might wish to sponsor or provide volunteers for a soup kitchen event.

“We are currently talking with local merchants for donations or gift cards so we can buy food,” Anderson said. “If donations start pouring in, then we can renovate the old parsonage and grow.”

For more information on the Someone Who Cares Soup Kitchen and how to help, people may contact Anderson by calling (229) 220-4469 or 248-2224 during school days. Tax-deductible donations can be made by writing out a personal check payable to West Bainbridge United Methodist Church and noting the Soup Kitchen account on the check memo.