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Successful food drive held for Service Center

VALLEY — This past Saturday, the women of Shawmut First Baptist Church hosted a very successful food drive for the Christian Service Center across from Capital City Bank and next to CharterBank in Valley. It was the fourth annual food drive, and more than 1,000 items were donated.

“We had a very good day,” said CSC Director Cheryl Myers. “We collected over 1,000 items and several other groups are still collecting for us. We appreciate so much the women of the church heading this up each year. It seems to grow with each passing year. The community turns out in a big way, and we appreciate that. It gets us off to a good start heading into our busiest period of the year – the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.”

The first Saturday in May is known as Hike/Bike/Run Day for Valley Haven School. The last Saturday in September is becoming widely known as Food Drive Day for the Christian Service Center.

“We will have as much need this year as we have in the past,” Myers said. “A good food drive like we had Saturday helps us a lot. We have a better idea of what we need to go out and purchase to be ready for the holidays. For Thanksgiving, we will need traditional items such as turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and so on.”

Myers said that several churches and school groups were helping the CSC right now and it really makes a difference in being prepared for the holidays.

“Some churches have already collected toys for us. We will be needing those in December,” she said.

Somewhere between 150 to 175 local families receive assistance through the Christian Service Center. Food is the big need heading into Thanksgiving, the need then turns to Christmas gifts and in January/February, people need help in paying utility bills.

Myers asks needy families not to wait until the last minute to apply for help from the CSC.

“It’s good for them and us for them to apply early,” she said.

The CSC office is located on Cusseta Road in the Huguley community, not far from the junction with the FOP Road. It’s open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. till noon and by appointment on Tuesdays.

Myers said there’s a good group of volunteers to help her, her husband Hermon and sons James, Jeffrey and Tony.

“There’s a group of around 20 people we can always count on to help us,” she said. “Paulette Ray and Liz Landreth have been there for us for 28 years now. The Todd Congregational Christian Church in Shawmut is really good about helping us put items in boxes for storage. Girl Scout groups are good with helping us, too. We are definitely getting a lot of community support for what we do.”

The CSC will be having a toy store the week of Nov. 6. It will be an ideal time for a parent from an approved family come by the center and pick out toys for their children.

Myers said that something unique about Chambers County is a vast willingness to help people in need. Sometimes that can be a problem. Sometimes word gets out that a given family needs help, and a number of churches, civic clubs and individuals rush to help. That’s good, but there are other families out there whose needs aren’t being met.

“We need a clearinghouse to coordinate this,” Myers said. “We don’t need to miss helping families who don’t speak up. We just need some coordination to help as many families as we can.”