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July 31, 2014
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Interfaith Food Closet provides food for hundreds each month
Interfaith Food Closet provides food for hundreds each month

The Rev. Donnie Erwin-Brown (at center) was the guest speaker at the noon hour meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley Wednesday, July 23. The Rev. Erwin-Brown, who has been in the ministry for more than 30 years, talked about the Interfaith Food Closet and some of the changes it has undergone since its articles of incorporation were rewritten this past May. "We've expanded our hours of operation from two to four days a week," he said. The current hours are from 9 a.m. till noon on Mondays and Wednesdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The IFC is located in a house behind Langdale Methodist Church. At left is Bobby Ann McCollough, program chairman, and at right, Jake Thompson, club president. (Photo by Wayne Clark)


VALLEY — Interfaith Food Closet Board Chairman the Rev. Donnie Erwin-Brown recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Valley on changes that have taken place with the charitable organization with the rewriting of its articles of incorporation.

"We're now in our 30th year and have done some fine tuning," he said. "We have expanded from two to four days a week. Our hours are from 9 a.m. till noon on Mondays and Wednesdays and from 1 to 4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

In May, the Interfaith Food Closet's articles of incorporation were rewritten in large part to clarify two issues. "We want to give emergency food, and we want to provide an opportunity for service," the Rev. Erwin-Brown said.

The IFC is located in a house on 20th Avenue in Valley just behind Langdale Methodist Church. The organization is supported either with food, money or volunteers from more than 20 churches in the local area. There's an all-volunteer staff, and somewhere between 100 and 150 local families are served each month. This breaks down to an average of 300 people being served each month, around one-third of which are children.

It's a policy of the Interfaith Food Closet to serve a given family up to six times in a calendar year. "They choose how to use it," the Rev. Erwin-Brown said, adding that around 30 percent of those who come to the center each month are first-time users.

Some of those who come seeking food are unemployed. Others have had some kind of setback that kept them out of work, such as a hospital stay. To be served, they must show a recent utility bill and an ID.

Since May 2013, over 16,000 meals have been provided and more than 1,300 children served. An estimated 55 percent of those who have been served live in the Lanett area and around 37 percent are from Valley. Some are transients who live from place to place.

Volunteers and donations are important in helping the Interfaith Food Closet continue to do what it does. "Our volunteers have some amazing stories to tell," the Rev. Erwin-Brown says. "Sometimes they will come across people they haven't seen in years. They will ask them 'Don't you remember me?' There are people who donate to us who tell us they have gone through difficult periods in their lives and that they want to help people now.

"They offer to pay for things they had to go without when they were younger," the Rev. Erwin-Brown says.

There are certain types of food volunteers try to keep in stock all the time. This includes powdered milk, grits, oatmeal, peanut butter, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, self-rising cornmeal, cooking oil, crackers, self-rising flour, beans, rice, canned vegetables, canned fish such as mackerel and canned meat such as Treet. They also keep toilet paper on hand at all times.

The total food cost to supply 100 families for food per month comes to around $1,635, or $25 per visit per person. The IFC has an overhead cost of around $350 a month.

"Our funds run low during the summer months," the Rev. Erwin-Brown said. "People forget to give and our cash flow goes down. We really do need food now. Businesses can help us by putting out donation boxes. We try to keep our costs as low as we can. We do nothing else but food. All our donations go to that. We don't do other things like school supplies or rent assistance."

"We have never gotten to the point where we could keep our shelves stocked all the time," the Rev. Erwin-Brown says. "On some days it's amazing the number of people you have. We have had as many as 25 to 30 families in a single day. We try to be as fair as we can with them — we're there to serve. On some days, we run out of some food items. On those days we give them what we can and won't count that day from the six they get."

Volunteers have found it helpful to assign food items that are needed to a participating church. One month that church may be asked to donate beans and rice, the next month powdered milk, grits and oatmeal and so on.

Valley Post Office has helped by having food drives for civic clubs such as Valley Kiwanis. "We appreciate the support you have given us with those food drives," Erwin-Brown told members of the club.

A Lanett native, Erwin-Brown attended the University of Alabama. He has been in the ministry for 30 years now. For the past eight years he has been the pastor at the Shawmut Methodist Church. His wife Karen directs the Pastoral Institute.

Troup programs would like more West Point residents
Troup programs would like more West Point residents


WEST POINT — Two innovative Troup County poverty and employment programs would like more participation from West Point residents.

During a Tuesday evening work session of the West Point Mayor and City Council, Carrie Brkich, director of workforce development for the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning, and Sherri Brown, director of Circles of Troup County, updated the city leadership on what their programs have accomplished and how they could benefit local residents.

Brkich said the Troup Trained program has had outstanding success in helping unemployed county residents find jobs.

Better than 80 percent of those who go through the soft-skills program, where they learn how to dress, prepare a resume and present themselves professionally in interviews, are now employed, Brkich said.

What makes Troup Trained particularly effective is the programs com-

pany partners. Now numbering more than two dozen, these partners guarantee interviews with all Troup Trained graduates. That means they can get a foot in the door, Brkich said.

The partners also take part in the training, so the aspiring workers are getting instruction from the companies that could eventually hire them.

Brkich said Troup Trained is recruiting its fall class now, and with employment numbers rising in the county, it's getting harder to find people who need the program. She asked the city leadership to make sure that local residents know of the opportunity.

Brown told a story involving a West Point resident who got involved in Circles of Troup County.

The single mother was living in the housing project and trying to raise two children on part-time work. After getting involved with Circles of Troup, she was able to move to full-time employment and is now getting ready to take additional training to further enhance her employability.

Brown said Circles of Troup helps people become employable by matching them with volunteers who can be role models and share their life experiences. That support, and the weekly meetings, provide a continuity and a sense of caring and concern that sustain the program enrollees.

After an initial period of instruction, enrollees can decide to go the full course. Of its first class, Brown said 85 percent have reduced their debt, 100 percent are living in safer housing and have reliable transportation.

Brown said she is enrolling the next class, and hopes to get up to 15 to join the program. That would require 30 volunteers, she said.

Brown encouraged the mayor and council to let people know about the opportunity, not just those who would benefit from the program but those who have much to offer as volunteers for Circles of Troup.She said the West Point Housing Authority has agreed to provide transportation every week to the Thursday night meetings, which would make it easier for many people to attend.

Police reports for Thursday, July 31, 2014
Police reports for Thursday, July 31, 2014

Valley Police

VALLEY — Aaron Woodston, 53, of Valley was arrested for bail jumping second degree.

Unlawful breaking and entering a motor vehicle and theft of property second degree were reported in the 5700 block of 16th Avenue.

Harassing communications was reported in the 8 block of Medical Park.

Fraudulent use of a credit/debit card was reported in the 1800 block of 42nd Street.

West Point Police

WEST POINT — Damage to an air conditioning unit by a vehicle was reported on Avenue D.

Lanett Police

LANETT — Harassment (physical) was reported in the 1600 block of 20th Street SW.

Harassment (verbal) was reported in the 2700 block of 13th Street SW.

Criminal trespassing third degree and harassment (verbal) were reported in the 5200 block of 38th Street SW.

Theft second degree was reported in the 2000 block of County Road 210.

Chambers Sheriff

LaFAYETTE — Aaron Woodston, 53, of Opelika was arrested for failure to appear-child support.

Warren Marell Woody, 35, of LaFayette was arrested for domestic violence third degree.

Sheriff officials reported 134 inmates in the Chambers County Detention Facility.

Troup Sheriff

LaGRANGE — Due to technical difficulties in the upgrading of a new phone system, the Troup County CrimeStoppers number is not working.

For persons needing to call and report a tip, please use the temporary number of 706-883-1616.

When the issue is resolved, it will be updated. The usual number for CrimeStoppers is 706-812-1000.

The Troup County Sheriff's Department thanks the public for its patience and apologizes for any inconvenience.

Sports Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1 Sports icon 1

Schools open fall camp next week
Schools open fall camp next week

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

Four of the seven local high schools will officially open fall camp workouts next week in preparation for the start of the 2014 high school football season.

Valley, Lanett, LaFayette and Beulah will open fall camps Mon., Aug. 4 while Springwood and Chambers in AISA play will open camp Thurs., Aug. 31.

The Troup Tigers began fall camp July 25.

It will be a very interesting year as Lanett will be the local team with the best shot of making a serious run at a state championship but a number of other schools should be playoff-bound as well.

Once in the postseason, anything can happen.

Valley moves up to 6A but opens the season Aug. 22 with rival 2A Lanett and is the first game between the local rivals since 2011.

Lanett’s offense against Valley’s defense should be a great matchup to kickoff the season.

All other local teams open the season Fri., Aug. 29.

•In addition, the Point Skyhawks football team will open fall camp, Fri., Aug. 1.

Happy Valley kickoff a big success
Happy Valley kickoff a big success

By Wayne Clark

News Editor

HUGULEY — Approximately 200 high school football players and coaches from local high schools gathered Saturday evening at Happy Valley Baptist Church for a dinner in their honor. The kickoff event was timed to coincide with the beginning of football practice for the 2014 season. It was free to all the invited teams and included pre-season fellowship and a steak dinner with all the trimmings. Schools invited were Valley High, Lanett High, Harris County High, Springwood School and Chambers Academy.

A local ministry, Iron Sharpens Iron, Inc., sponsored the event and funded it. Mitchell Hamilton of Water Break Ministries served as quarterback of the planning committee. He was assisted by Happy Valley pastor, Rev. John Samanie Jr. Julie Ambrose, vice president of the Troup/Valley Region for CharterBank, coordinated getting the food cooked and served by teams of volunteers. CharterBank provided some supplies and paid for the desserts. Rev. Tim Bass coordinated the cleanup team from Fairview Baptist Church.

Following dinner was a prayer by Rev. Napoleon Darden and singing by Kevin Dunn. Dunn sang two solos. For the second one, “How Great is our God?”, he invited the crowd to join in and sing it with him.

A local high school football living legend, Gary Barnes, spoke to the crowd. Barnes played for Doug Lockridge at Valley High in the 1950s. He later went on to play for Frank Howard at Clemson and spent seven seasons in the NFL.

He was a rookie with the Green Bay Packers in 1962 and played on the team that won the NFL championship. He later played for the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons. He’s best known for scoring the first touchdown in Atlanta Falcons history. He played in 60 career games with 41 receptions for 583 yards.

Barnes told the crowd he would always be grateful to Coach Howard and his staff at Clemson for giving him the chance to play college football. Most college coaches, he said, thought he was too thin to play at that level. He later proved a lot of them wrong.

Barnes said that one of his fondest memories was standing in the tunnel at Yankee Stadium and being introduced as a starting player for Dallas. He said that he’d never forget standing there in that tunnel, looking out on the field and seeing a giant U.S. flag flying over the stadium and statues of famous New York Yankee baseball players in Monument Park, just over the outfield wall. He said it was a special feeling hearing the public address announcer saying to the big crowd present “Starting at wide receiver for Dallas, Gary Barnes.”

The principal speaker of the evening, Rev. Buddy Norton, followed Barnes. A native of the Chattanooga, Tenn. area, Rev. Norton talked about his experiences with the game of football, both as a high school player and in being close friends with a lot of coaches over the years.

“I’ve always loved the game of football and being around athletes,” he said. “My life still bears the marks made on me by the men who were my coaches, and I want to thank the coaches who are here with us this evening for what you mean to your young men.”

Rev. Norton talked to the large group of players assembled for the program about the importance the choices they would make today would have on the rest of their lives. “The choices you make will shape your life and determine how it turns out,” he said. “Each day, each of us have choices and decisions to make.”

Rev. Norton mentioned some instances where one player with a bad attitude had cost his team a chance to something really special, like win a championship. He asked the boys present it they’d ever heard the name Aaron Hernandez. Lots of hands went up. “Did he make some bad choices?” he asked, getting lots of yeses in response.

Instead of continuing with a promising career in the NFL, the former New England Patriots star faces murder charges.

“Where you will end up five years from now will be the result of the kind of choices you made today,” he said.

At the conclusion of the message, a large number of the young men who were present came forward to receive salvation. They then met with a team of 15 pastors from churches in the local area who prayed with them. The pastors then offered to be available to them for follow-up discipleship.

Iron Sharpens Iron, Inc. is led by Julian Nealy, a Valley native and non-denominational pastor. Iron Sharpens Iron works with area churches and pastors to further the gospel and to promote the unity of faith among believers in the local area.

Nealy has been friends with Gary Barnes for years and from him learned about Buddy Norton Ministries and its successful outreach through football dinners.

Pastor Nealy said he would like for this pre-season steak dinner to be an annual tradition.

Former Valley standout Rudd named to Point football staff
Former Valley standout Rudd named to Point football staff

By Scott Sickler

Sports Editor

VALLEY — A familiar face to Valley High football fans will be roaming the sidelines for the Point University football staff this fall.

Lantorrance Rudd, a former standout for the Valley Rams, was recently named to coach David Rocker’s staff.

Rudd enjoyed a stellar career while at Valley High.

Rudd served as the Skyhawks strength and conditioning coach last year.

•In other Point football news, the team reported over the weekend for the start of fall camp.

Former Auburn All-American and NFL player David Rocker is back for his second-year as the Skyhawks head coach.

Point will open fall practice Aug. 1 with two-a-day workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and single workouts on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Skyhawks will have intrasquad scrimmages on Saturdays.

Morning practices will open at 8:15 a.m. while afternoon practices and scrimmages are set for 3:15 p.m.

Beginning Aug. 13, practices will be moved to once a day in the afternoon. All practices will be open to the public


Obituaries for Thursday, July 31, 2014
Obituaries for Thursday, July 31, 2014


VALLEY — Mrs. Jan Bunn, wife, mother and friend, passed from this life Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from liver complications.

A memorial service to honor her life will be held at Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley Friday Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. EDT.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.


RIVERDALE, Ga. — Funeral arrangements are pending for Ms. Andrea "Rudy" Chivers of Riverdale, formerly of West Point, who died Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at Hospice Atlanta.

M.Silmon-Seroyer Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.


LaGRANGE — Funeral arrangements are pending for Mr. Willie F. Jones, 73, of LaGrange, who died Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at Hospice LaGrange.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.


WEST POINT — Mrs. Andrea "Necie" Stargill of West Point died Saturday, July 26, 2014, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Funeral services are planned for Friday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m. at Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church in Cusseta with the Revs. Arthur Thomas, pastor, and Louis Upshaw officiating. Burial will follow at Pine Hill Cemetery in Lanett.

W. Lee Mortuary of West Point is handling arrangements.


OPELIKA — Ms. Melissa M. Greathouse, 35, of Opelika died Saturday, July 26, 2014, in Tuskegee.

Funeral services are planned for Friday, Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. CDT at New Canaan Baptist Church in Camp Hill with the Rev. Justin Freeman, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Foreman Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.


LILBURN, Ga. — Mr. Samuel Ellis Yearwood, 21, of Lilburn died Sunday, July 27, 2014.

A graveside service will be held Thursday, July 31 at 4 p.m. at LaFayette City Cemetery in LaFayette with the Rev. Bill Hand officiating.

Jeff Jones Funeral Home of LaFayette is handling arrangements.

Obituaries for Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Obituaries for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No obituaries were reported today.

Obituaries for Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Obituaries for Tuesday, July 29, 2014


ELLENWOOD, Ga. — Mrs. Dorothy Ruth McCants of Ellenwood, formerly of Valley, died Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at her residence.

Funeral services are planned for Wednesday, July 30 at 1 p.m. at Rehoboth Baptist Church with the Rev. Karanja Story, pastor, offciating. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Foreman Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.


SALEM — Mr. Tony Wayne Meigs, 76, of Salem died Saturday, July 19, 2014, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's.

Funeral services were held Monday, July 21 at 4 p.m. at Jeffcoat-Trant Chapel. Burial followed at Garden Hills Cemetery.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home and Crematory of Opelika handled arrangements.


LANETT — Ms. Daphne Mitchell Rose of Lanett died Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Midtown Medical Center in Columbus.

Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday, July 30 at 1 p.m. at Davis Memorial Mortuary Chapel in Valley with Bishop Larry White officiating. Burial will follow at Pine Hill Cemetery in Lanett.

Davis Memorial Mortuary is directing.


VALLEY — Mrs. Mary O. Sides, 83, of Valley died Friday, July 25, 2014, in Opelika.

Funeral services are planned for Tuesday, July 29 at 2 p.m. at Fairview Baptist Church in Valley with the Rev. Tim Bass officiating. Burial will follow at Langdale Cemetery.

Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home of Valley is handling arrangements.


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