City of LaFayette forms partnership with food charity

Published 10:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

At their meeting on Monday, the LaFayette City Council agreed to a partnership with Vision to Feed Ministry, a 501c3 organization that feeds the hungry and is led by Carl Ashford.

Before Ashford arrived, LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines said that many citizens of LaFayette went to Valley to receive food from the ministry.

“As you always hear me say that, we’re here in our position to try to take care of our own citizens first,” he said. “They shouldn’t have to travel nowhere, especially to get a meal.”

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Vines said Ashford laid out his plan at another meeting.

“During the discussion about feeding, he said that he currently does that in Valley and that it would be like twice a month, starting off,” said City Clerk Louis Davidson. “We went and looked, and we said that if this was something that the mayor and council wanted to be a part of, that the current building that councilmember Williams is at would be a good location for it to happen.”

Davidson said Vision to Feed would cover the costs of meals. The city would have to purchase a refrigerator and deep freezers to hold the food.

“I think it was maybe one refrigerator and three coolers,” Davidson said. Councilmember Tammie Williams said one refrigerator and one freezer was required from the city.

Davidson said the refrigerator and freezer would be the city’s property, but the city could work out an agreement for Vision to Feed Ministry to use them.

He brought up a meeting a couple of council members and Vines had attended, which Williams said was last Monday. He said Vision to Feed was on the agenda because it had been brought up at that meeting. He explained that if the entire council had gone, it would have needed to be an open meeting, which the city would need to advertise.

“And in that time frame, we didn’t have enough time to do that,” Davidson said. “Plus, we didn’t know what everyone’s schedule was, so Councilmember Thomas had a quick meeting, and then they decided on coming to the full council meeting tonight.

“I think that should have been an open meeting anyway,” Councilmember T. Shannon Hunter said.

City Attorney Joseph Tucker said two council members were present at the meeting, which is how many members need to be present for a meeting to be open.

“That meeting should not have been held,” Hunter said.

Ashford and Magby arrived to talk about the program.

“We’re already going all over Alabama and all over Georgia,” Ashford said. “We feed every day, just about every day as people call and get food.”

He echoed Vine’s statement that LaFayette citizens get food from the ministry in Valley. About 75 people do this, he said, although the number varies. He said people in need can call it for food anytime.

Ashford said the ministry gives out both hot and non-hot food. He said that when it served hot food in LaFayette, people seemed very grateful.

Magby also spoke.

“It would be a blessing to this area if you all would allow Vision to Feed Ministry to come here,” he said. “You really have to see what they do.”

He said that Ashford’s work has nothing to do with his church; Ashford is just a member there.

“When they’re out giving the boxes and I’m looking at the food they’re giving out, and I’m going to tell you, it’s not just something that they give out that, you know, you got potato chips, canned, stuff like that,” he said. “They give canned goods, they give dried goods. They give frozen meats, milk, Gatorade, stuff like that. And the amount that they give out, it lasts a while. And I stand there, and I watch people come, both black and white. I mean, they line up for almost a mile getting those boxes.”

Magby said that sometimes, people are reluctant to say they need help, but they’ll get in line for food from Vision to Feed Ministry. He said it amazed him how many people in the Valley area struggle to keep food on their table.

While he said he was willing to vote for a partnership with Vision to Feed Ministry, Hunter said the council should follow rules about having open meetings.