First Port City Bank, Family Connection sponsor community food drive

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

During the month of February First Port City Bank partnered with Family Connection to sponsor the “Show Some Love” Community Food Drive to replenish the local food bank. 

Designated drop off locations were Belk, Pic-N-Save, ABAC/Southern Regional Tech Wellness Center, First United Methodist Church, First Port City Bank, First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, City of Bainbridge, and Memorial Hospital. Friendly competitions were held within the elementary schools and the departments at Memorial Hospital and Manor to see who could collect the most food by weight. School winners received a pizza or ice cream party complements of First Port City Bank.  School winners were:  John Johnson – Megan McRae’s class, Jones Wheat – Ashley McLendon’s class, Potter Street – Jennifer Beard’s class, West Bainbridge – Tiffany Maxwell’s class.  The overall department winner at Memorial Hospital was Rehabilitation Services. ‘We could not do this annual food drive without the help and support of First Port City Bank.  We would like to thank them for sponsoring and organizing this annual event,” said Ronnie Burke, Decatur County Family Connection Coordinator. “It really is a community effort.”

Employees of First Port City Bank along with Ronnie Burke of Family Connection collected all the food from the drop off locations and transported it to a central staging area.  The Bainbridge Service Club sorted the non-perishable donations by category and prepared it for distribution.

The Community Food Bank houses canned goods at Bainbridge First United Methodist Church. This organization began over 10 years ago with a few concerned individuals who saw a need.  With the help of Family Connection, the Community Food Bank began to take shape. At its onset the canned food and non-perishables were stored in a building located at Bainbridge FUMC and distributed as a need was identified. Today, each Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. grocery bags filled with 6-8 canned goods are distributed to clients from the Sunday School building of Bainbridge FUMC.

The food bank inventory is replenished through the annual food drive sponsored by First Port City Bank, individual donations throughout the year, as well as food purchased from Second Harvest of SWGA. Monetary gifts given to Food Bank by the generous people throughout the entire county allow food bank volunteers to purchase items such as peanut butter, meat products, pasta, canned fruit, and much more from Second Harvest of Southwest Georgia. The Rotary Club and the Presbyterian Church have generously contributed toward the Kids against Hunger program which supplies rice fortified with nutrients and protein. This rice is included in the bags along with the canned goods given out weekly. Each bag of rice has enough nutrition for a family of 6 or 7.

The Community Food Bank has about 24 volunteers who help organize, pack, and distribute bags to our community weekly. On average the food bank distributes 36-48 bags of food per week to families in need.   Many of those receiving the donated food are 55 years old or older.

Working with Family Connection, the Community Food Bank team also packs extra bags for identified families in need within the Decatur County School System  The Family Connection backpack program is another way to assure that kids who might not have enough food to eat over the weekend when not in school will not go hungry.  Using food donated by the community, backpacks are packed by food bank volunteers and sent home with the child in their backpack on Fridays during the school year. At BHS, when a need is identified, funds from the Community Food Bank have been given to school administration specifically to purchase food items to help those students in need. Approximately 100 families benefit weekly from these backpack donations.

In addition to the weekly non-perishable food bags, monetary donations have been shared for the purchase of food when a need arose.  About a month prior to Hurricane Michael, through the generosity of local donations, the food bank was able to share funds with the other organizations serving and distributing food from their churches. The following organizations were subsidized according to the needs communicated by their pastors:

• Faceville Baptist Church feeds approximately 120 persons monthly. They distribute food from Second Harvest the fourth Tuesday of each month.

• The Bainbridge Church of God and the Bainbridge Soup Kitchen serve a hot meal each week on Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the church. They also deliver to the elderly. They serve 155 hot meals weekly. Emergency meal boxes are also a part of this churches generous giving.

• On Thursdays from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. West Bainbridge Baptist Church gives food to families in need. They help approximately142 families per month.

These churches and many others assisted the Salvation Army during the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. They worked night and day to help feed those in need and give emergency relief to the community.

The Church of God opened its doors to work alongside the Salvation Army since they cook with propane gas in their kitchen and food could be immediately prepared for distribution to those in need. Regularly, on Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., the Salvation Army gives emergency assistance to include clothing and a monthly food box.

The driving forces behind the Community Food Bank feel it is so important for our community to join together to reach out to those who need food and encouragement. “We have been very blessed in our community to have extremely committed partners  like First Port City Bank supporting this all important cause of feeding those in our community who may not have enough food to feed themselves or their families”, said Ann Brannen, volunteer at the Community Food Bank.  “In 2019, the Community Food Bank plans to go out on location with Literacy Bus at least once or twice with packed bags of canned food,” says Brannen. First Port City Bank is also one of the sponsors of the Literacy Bus.

Besides the organizations mentioned, there are many other churches and organizations that reach out weekly or monthly. In an effort to more effectively communicate and help our community, the Community Food Bank would like to connect with your organization. We would like to know when and where you are serving and how we may contact you. Please email abrannen@gmail.com or call Bainbridge First United Methodist Church 229-246-1864.