Outreach Ministry gears up for largest food drive of the year

Published 10:03 pm Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry (Outreach) is preparing for the largest food drive of the year.

“We know that Hunger Action Month has sparked a lot of interest throughout the community,” says Carol Newton, Executive Director of the nonprofit human services organization, “and we hope that we can count on the community’s continued generosity to Outreach during this month’s food drive.”

Drop off locations for the food drive have been established throughout the County as follows:

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υColumbus – Bi-Lo, Food Lion

υTryon – Vines and Stuff, IGA

υSaluda – Manna Cabanna, Meanwhile, Back in Saluda

υMill Spring – Mill Spring Ag Center Store

υGreen Creek – Cool Mama’s Bakery

“With the cooler months ahead, we expect to see an increase in demand for our services,” says Client Service Manager, Michelle Reedy.  “Food drives are an important way to help Outreach respond to the needs of our community’s economically vulnerable families and individuals during the months ahead.”

Getting the word out that Polk County does have a hunger problem has been a large focus of Hunger Action Month, explains Newton.  “We see numerous requests for food from food insecure families every day at Outreach, so we know the need exists.”  She continues, “It is easy, however, to ignore the suffering that you don’t see.”

The most recent statistics published by Feeding America, the largest hunger relief charity in the United States, show that 14.2 percent of Polk County’s overall population and 27.3 percent of the County’s children are deemed to be ‘food insecure.’

“We published a calendar in September ’30 ways to help in 30 days’ for the community to show that the average person that can have an impact on hunger relief.  We’re visiting schools and churches this month in order to start a dialogue on hunger.”

“For some community members, donating money to help their neighbors is realistic — and we’re extremely grateful for that support. Others may feel more comfortable donating food and we think that’s great – we hope everyone in the community will donate a can of food for their neighbors in need.”

On Sept. 30, the nonprofit will sponsor a hunger forum that will look to Polk County’s future and generate discussion about hunger in the County. The forum will bring together representatives from local governments and from the many organizations working in the human services field in Polk County. Members of the community are invited and encouraged to participate in the discussion.

Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1991.  The organization’s mission is to provide compassionate assistance to Polk County residents who are unable to provide for their basic life needs.  For more information on Outreach or the hunger forum, please visit www.tboutreach.org or call 828-894-2988.


-article submitted
by Wendy Thomas