Editors Note: This article is part of a series on helping hands in the community.

The Care Mission in LaFayette is taking donations for the hungry through Thanksgiving and Christmas at area stores such as the LaFayette Food City, LaFayette Walmart, Fort Oglethorpe Food City and Mission Ridge Food City.

The Food City stores will accept monetary donations as well.

Feeding the hungry is a full-time job for Deon and Kendra Phillips, who established the Care Mission in 2005. Although it started as a thrift store and food pantry, the Care Mission is now a food pantry only.

“We are helping people whose situation is beyond their control and is not going to change no matter what the economy,” Deon Phillips said.

The Care Mission helps 600-650 households every month. Ninety percent of the people helped are children, senior citizens and the disabled who are on fixed incomes.

“There’s a Thursday every week — not just during the holidays. The need doesn’t go away. There is a 25th of every month,” Phillips said.

Every week seven tons of food are distributed, which equates to 12,000 meals going to needy families. Most of the food is purchased from the Chattanooga and Atlanta food banks.

Nine area churches and eight businesses support them consistently. The Care Mission also receives a grant from the North Georgia Round-Up each year.

Seventy percent of support comes from individuals who give of their own accord.

“We are very blessed to be able to do what we do,” Phillips said.

The Care Mission food pantry, at 105 N. Chattanooga St., is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The legal name, Here I Am Inc., can be found on Amazon Smile.

For more information, visit http://thecaremission.org/ or call 706-638-3664.

Mary Catherine O’Bryant is a reporter for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and the Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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