Food banks continue to help

Published 7:15 am Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Food banks and food pantries like the Interfaith Food Closet, located on 20th Avenue in Valley behind the Langdale Methodist Church, and the West Point Food Closet located inside the First Baptist Church of West Point, organize the collection of food donations and distribution to those in need on both sides of the state line.

Both organizations rely on volunteers and donations from people with big hearts.

Never has there been a bigger need for volunteers and big-hearted people than in the current coronavirus crisis and the massive unemployment it has created.

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According to the Director of the West Point Food Closet David Ayres, the West Point Food Closet receives USDA-approved food from Feed the Valley in Columbus and FeedAmerica.org.

“They are making a sincere effort to get food to individuals,” he said. “They provide us with very good produce and meat.”

Sponsored by the West Point Ministerial Association, the West Point Food Closet is open every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

“The coronavirus hasn’t stopped us,” Ayres said. “We are operating with some different procedures, but we still are getting food to West Point area residents.”

The Food Closet serves one family at a time. While one family member waits inside the door, a volunteer asks them what they need and a buggy with 65 pounds of food is filled for them and wheeled to the door. It’s then taken outside and placed in their waiting car.

Before the next person is served, everything is wiped down with sanitizer.

Some additional items are included for any household member who is 18 years of age or younger.

Recipients are asked to display a driver’s license with a West Point address or to have some mail addressed to them in West Point.

They have to fall within certain income requirements and be eligible for the Georgia Nutritional Assistance Program, or GNAP.

“On most Wednesdays, we serve somewhere between 12 and 20 families,” Ayres said. “We have had as many as 40 people on a Wednesday. Last Wednesday, we had only one person to come by.”

That could be the result of the stimulus checks going out.

The Interfaith Food Closet serves Valley, Lanett and West Point.

On its normal schedule it’s open five days a week – 9 a.m. until noon on Mondays and Wednesdays and noon until 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesdays and Thursdays.