The temperature continued to climb on a hot June morning as more people came for a box of groceries at Helping Hands Food Pantry in Rockmart.
The heat did not thin the crowd of eligible individuals signed up for the mobile delivery from Atlanta Community Food Bank.
A total of 10,000 pounds was distributed. This was enough to feed 200 families, according to Betty Cornwell, director at the Rockmart facility.
Participants received 50-pound boxes filled with a variety of items, including canned corn, peas, spinach, green beans, marshmallows, egg noodles, frozen chicken and lemonade.
“Everything went smooth,” said Linda Ferguson, assistant director. She credited the continued success of the mission of the food pantry to “dedicated and faithful” volunteers.
The following volunteers participated in the mobile delivery on Wednesday, June 1: Betty and Clint Cornwell, Vivian Pierce, Cornelia Jackson, Peggy Watts, Jenelle Owens, Merry Jones, Cathy Scrivens and her niece Brittany, Randall Henderson, Steve Whitmeyer, Jason Wallace, Linda Gibson, Ferguson’s granddaughter Anslea Gunnels and great granddaughter Sydney Helton.
Meanwhile, Helping Hands Ministries of Rockmart continues to feed the hungry in Polk County.
During January 2016, a total of 1,254 people were served and 13,892 pounds of food was distributed to 484 households - 209 seniors, 380 children, 10 homeless, 20 veterans and 28 new families.
In February 2016, 985 people were served and a total of 12,821 pounds of food distributed. A total of 423 households received assistance, including 267 seniors, 252 children, 15 homeless, 18 veterans and 38 new families.
During March, assistance was given to 210 seniors, 457 children, 9 veterans, 10 homeless, 21 new families or a total of 1,407. They received 14,914 pounds of food.
This compares with numbers from 2015:
January: 506 households, 465 children, 169 seniors, 9 homeless, 13 veterans and 6 new families. During this month, a total of 17,350 pounds of food was distributed.
February: 312, households, 277 children, 157 seniors, 11 homeless, 12 veterans and 4 new families. Food given out totaled 10,371 pounds.
March: 424 households, 457 children, 153 seniors, 10 homeless, 9 veterans, and 21 new families. A total of 13,582 pounds of food was distributed.
Helping Hands, a non-profit agency, was organized in 2001 under the leadership of Clint and Betty Cornwell. It was first located at 616 Elm Street and later moved to a six-room building on Church Street in Rockmart.
“We were thinking of retirement and looked for a way to give back to the community,” Betty Cornwell said. “We decided to start the ministry because we saw there was a need. We come from Christian homes and have our family. We are so blessed and we wanted to help others.”
She said the agency offers help programs to people receiving food. This includes Senior Boxes, a special list of non-perishable items for persons qualifying – through a federal program – as low income and over 60 years of age.
Blankets and carrying bags are given out to the homeless and the agency keeps special food on hand for people without refrigeration or electricity.
A representative from the Atlanta Community Food Bank visits on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. She coordinates with Department of Family and Children Services and assists people having problems with or wants to apply for food stamps.
An advocate for Veterans is present the first Thursday of each month to assist these clients. She provides information, phone numbers and services available.
“There is no charge for food or services at Helping Hands,” Cornwell said. “We rely on donations from the community – individuals, churches, businesses, industry and others.”
All proceeds from the thrift shop, located at 107 Church Street, Rockmart, also go to support the food pantry.