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County food bank spreads Christmas cheer

Montgomery County Food Bank Christmas Blessing
Area residents wait their turn as over 170 families receive a holiday meal from the Montgomery County Food Pantry. – Photo by Dewayne Holloway

MOUNT IDA – The streets around the annex building were bustling with activity Thursday morning as the Montgomery County Food Pantry distributed food through their Christmas Blessing event.

This year marks the 11th year for the Christmas Blessing which began in 2008. Streets are blocked and cars line up around the Annex Building located at 117 Ray Drive in Mount Ida. Families are provided with food items that can be used to prepare a Christmas meal. 

Brenda Forga Montgomery County Food Bank Christmas Blessing
Brenda Forga passes out coloring books and crayons as families make their way through the line Thursday. – Photo by Dewayne Holloway

Cars began to line up early Thursday, December 19, with the line winding its way around the annex parking lot as vehicles make their way to the front door of the building.

Pat Smith, a board member for the pantry, stated that the first year of the Christmas Blessing they distributed food items from inside the building. She recalled how hectic it was getting people in and out of the same entryway. The next year they moved distribution outside. 

Smith added that while it makes distribution easier, volunteers would rather families sit in the warmth of their car while they deal with the frigid December temperatures. Thursday’s temperature dipped into the 20’s during the early morning hours.

Brenda Forga stated in her “Feed My Sheep” Column, which can be found in this week’s issue of the Montgomery County News, that there were just under 180 families who participated in the Christmas Blessing this year.

Volunteers Montgomery County Food Bank Christmas Blessing
Ann Greene was among a host of volunteers helping with traffic Thursday, December 20, at the Christmas Blessing.

The high volume of food distribution can’t be done without volunteers. People gathered Wednesday, December 18, to package the food for distribution. Others arrived early Thursday and braved the cold weather to offer a holiday meal to area families.

Several organizations also helped collect items that were distributed during the event.

The Christmas Blessing is an annual event provided by the Montgomery County Food Pantry. The pantry opened in 2006 and has grown to provide food items to approximately 220 families each month. The pantry is open Mondays and Wednesdays. Volunteers help families collect food from the pantry.

The goal of the pantry is to provide a week’s worth of groceries each month to families that have signed up to receive food. By allowing families to pick out items the pantry feels less food is wasted by providing food they will eat.

If you are interested in volunteering at the pantry, or if you are in need of assistance call (870) 867-7168.

Volunteers Montgomery County Food Bank Christmas Blessing
Al Gathright and Derwood Brett bring up the rear of the line Thursday. Vehicles lined up and down Orchard Street as they waited their turn to receive a holiday meal. – Photo by Dewayne Holloway

 

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