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Local residents who may be out of work or in need of food during the on-going pandemic will be able to obtain a box of staple goods today, April 29 at two local schools.
The Grady County School System and the Grady County Help Agency, in partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, will conduct a food distribution effort on April 29 at Cairo High School and at Washington Middle School beginning at 8 a.m.
“We are so thankful for the support of Help Agency volunteers in this effort. Through their support, we will be able to have food drops at two different locations,” Grady County school superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said this week.
A recent food drop held at C.H.S. on April 9 created a massive traffic jam around the school and the supply of food was far exceeded by the demand of those seeking the free food.
According to Dr. Gilliard, Cindy Johnson of the Help Agency had contacted him about the possibility of the agency participating with the school to help distribute food to those who need it.
Johnson reports that the Help Agency has been shuttered since schools closed and was able to disburse its refrigerated food items within two weeks of the closure in March.
“We have been in a bit of a conundrum, having closed our doors when the schools closed, assuming we would reopen March 30. But you know how that has gone,” Johnson said.
Under Dr. Gilliard’s leadership, the school system has been distributing meals to school children twice a week for the last several weeks. On Tuesday, the number of meals served topped 67,358 since March 17.
“There is obviously a great need for food and so many in our community are suffering financially and emotionally at this time. Working with the Help Agency and Second Harvest, we hope that in some small way we can help improve the situation for local children and their families,” Dr. Gilliard said.
The rules for next week’s food giveaway include: drive-up recipients only, no walkups; one food box per vehicle; first-come, first-serve and once all the food is distributed there is no more.
Those planning to go to C.H.S. should take Syrupmaker Drive at the North end of the campus and around the high school track and turn left in front of the school gymnasium where school system personnel will hand off food boxes to recipients.
At Washington Middle School, recipients will approach the front of the school either from M.L. King Jr. Avenue S.W. or from 13th Street S.W. Two lines will form in front of W.M.S. for food to be handed off by Help Agency volunteers.
“We are hopeful that by having two different locations we can reduce the congestion that we experienced at the high school recently and also make it more convenient for the community,” Dr. Gilliard said.
A total of 10 pallets or 850 boxes of food has been requested and will be distributed.
“We ask that everyone please be aware there will be only one box given per vehicle and once the supply is exhausted that is it,” Gilliard said.
In addition to working to see that local residents have food, Cindy Johnson of the Help Agency said the organization is also working to be able to provide vouchers for utility assistance and other needs to those who are less fortunate or suddenly out of work.
“It has been hard without having the Help Agency office open, but we are getting there,” Johnson said.
Today’s food giveaway is in addition to the school system’s distribution on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Free meals for students are available on those days at each of the county’s seven schools. Adults may purchase meals for $5 cash.