The Boynton Lions Club of Ringgold, Ringgold United Methodist Church and Boynton United Methodist Church distributed boxes of fresh produce from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers to Family Food Box Distribution for Catoosa County residents Friday afternoon, June 19, at Ringgold United Methodist Church, 162 Sparks St. in Ringgold.

“This is an exciting opportunity to help our Catoosa seniors, and families that need a little help at this time to stretch their food budget in these unusual times,” Lions Treasurer Randall Franks said. “I am thankful that our Boynton Lions were able to make this possible for our community.”

Boynton Lions President Tom Rector extended thanks in advance to all the partners and volunteers that helped support this effort: Ringgold United Methodist Church, Boynton United Methodist Church, Lions of District 18 L, Ringgold Telephone Co., North Georgia EMC Roundup Grant, Share America Foundation Inc., Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, Christ Chapel Share and Care Mission, Catoosa County Senior Center, Ringgold Police Department, and mission teams led by Jake Haynes and Bo Black.

“It is so amazing the response, the numbers of folks willing to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors,” Rector said.

This hunger and diabetes awareness and prevention relief effort aids the general public and local food banks during this COVID-19 pandemic. Educational literature about diabetes awareness and prevention was made available to each family receiving a produce box.

Lions Clubs of Georgia partnered with Collins Brothers Produce of Forest Park, Ga., in this USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program. Boxes going out included carrots, Idaho potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, green cabbage, lettuce, lemons, yellow squash, apples, and oranges. There were no dairy or meat products.

Vehicles entered from Sparks Street to line up beginning at 1:15 p.m. Folks were asked are to remain inside their vehicles at the distribution sites while volunteers loaded one box per vehicle into the trunks or back seats. Volunteers utilized masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing.

For Ringgold City seniors who were are unable to pick up a box, arrangements were made for porch deliveries within the city limits.

As part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance program U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced on April 17 that USDA is exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need. Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products. The program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. Suppliers will package these products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to non-profit organizations serving communities.

Lions District Governor David Crawford said that Lions know that kindness matters.

“This hunger and diabetes awareness relief effort in partnership with Collins Brothers Produce and the USDA is a natural progression of our Lions kindness,” he said. “Lions Clubs just completed a $10,000 emergency grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation that aided frontline medical providers during April and May in over 22 hospitals across 16 counties battered by COVID-19 cases.”

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, the world’s largest service club organization, with more than 1.4 million men and women members in more than 210 countries and geographical areas worldwide.

District Governor Crawford explained that LCIF recently surpassed the $1 billion milestone in grants awarded for global humanitarian service and disaster relief. So far, LCIF has provided $3.8 million in grant funding for global COVID-19 relief. This would not be possible without the generous support of Lions throughout the world. https://lionsclubs.org/en/lcif-response

Since 1968, LCIF has funded service work through personal financial gifts from Lions members and the general public. LCIF helps Lions improve peoples’ lives around the world, from combating vision problems to responding to major catastrophes to providing valuable life skills to youth, and much more. Learn more at lcif.org and lionsclubs.org.

Over 4,500 Lions Clubs members, from over 150 Lions Clubs in Georgia, constantly work together to serve our communities whether it is an emergency pandemic crisis like COVID-19 or ordinary issues with vision & hearing care, diabetes awareness and prevention, fighting hunger, battling childhood cancer, helping environmental causes, and many other humanitarian activities,” Crawford said.

Lions Clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. For more information or to get involved with the Lions Clubs, please contact Boynton Lions Club of Ringgold on Facebook or at boyntonlions@gmail.com.

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