More than 600 families in Rome and Floyd County are expected to benefit from an annual food distribution effort led by parishioners at First Presbyterian Church in Rome. Volunteers from across the community are invited to assist with the packing of food boxes tonight at the church fellowship hall.

Mayor Jamie Doss said the program is not just for people who attend First Presbyterian.

"There are a lot of friends, anyone that wants to participate, including several members of the Rome High football team," Doss said.

Volunteers formed two long lines to pass items off the truck into the fellowship hall where they were stacked on the stage to get ready for packaging Sunday night.

Quantavious Leslie, a 6-foot, 4-inch 285 pound offensive tackle for the Wolves literally stood out among the volunteers. He didn't have any trouble at all handling the heavy boxes of canned goods as they were off-loaded from a delivery truck into the fellowship hall Saturday. Rayquan Jones, a 6-foot 2-inch 285 pound defensive tackle at Rome was grabbing the hefty boxes like they were a tiny running back trying to find a hole to get through. None of the food was getting past Jones.

At the other end of the spectrum, little Grayson Clark, 10, was busy unfolding the cardboard boxes that the food would be packed in for final distribution. His dad, Carter Clark was busy taping the bottom of the box as quickly as his son could unfold them. The Clark family is relatively new to the community and thought that helping Saturday would be a good way to get involved with something as important as helping the hungry at the holidays.

Veterinarian Dr. Dan Pate said the church serves pizza up for the volunteers at 6 p.m. Sunday night, after which the packaging of the food begins.

"It usually takes a couple of hours," Pate said.

The distribution will take place Monday morning as families that have been qualified through Good Neighbor Ministries will drive through the church parking lot to pick up boxes which will contain everything from a frozen chicken to fruit, bread and much more.

"There's a good variety. Southeastern Mills has donated packets of soup," Doss said.

The box, generally speaking, is supposed to be enough to feed a family of five for a week.

"We've been doing this food box ministry for over 30 years," Doss said. "It's really a year-round program. If anyone wants to sponsor a box it's $35 a box."