Spearheaded by Freda Woodring, the nonprofit’s associate director in the 1990s, the offering will collect canned and dried goods from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For the donors’ convenience, volunteers will unload supplies from the contributors’ vehicles.
“Freda [Woodring], she’s a retired employee and it was her vision,” said Nichole Varnell, associate director of North Bartow Community Services. “She wanted to help us within our food pantry so she came up with the idea. She talked to our director, Kay House, and Kay was all for it. Kay definitely wanted to give her an opportunity to help in some way.
“The shelves are pretty bare. Especially during the summer months, we’re hit the hardest because you have a lot of school children that are out of school and you have a lot of families [needing assistance].”
Located at 2397 Hall Station Road in Adairsville, North Bartow Community Services provided 12,215 pounds of food in June to qualified individuals. Along with presenting proof of income, the recipients must be a Bartow County resident, living in the nonprofit’s service area of Adairsville, Kingston, Pine Log, Rydal and White.
“We service an array of people,” Varnell said. “We have low-income senior citizens that we’re serving. We’re also serving working poor, the working class families as well that’s probably living paycheck to paycheck. ... Some people are working, but it’s a struggle to feed their family. Then we also assist individuals who are in transition — some may have possibly lost a job or their food stamps have lapsed.”
Even though she no longer works for North Bartow Community Services, Woodring still has a passion for helping the hungry. Prior to joining the nonprofit, Woodring witnessed a poignant exchange that emphasized the need that exists for food in the north Bartow area.
“We had a situation where a woman came with a child that had been burned very badly,” Woodring said. “A bowl of chicken and dumplings had fallen off onto the child. She was about 3 years old, and she had been at Scottish Rite. ... I had brought some food because I was the mission action director at that time at Adairsville Baptist. When I brought it in, the mother came in and they told me ... ‘Oh, I’m so glad you brought food; we just don’t have anything.’ The mother came back to get the food and the little girl was with her. I was putting a box of cereal into the brown paper sack she was going to get and the little girl saw that cereal and she grabbed it and held it to her and twirled around.
“The mother was embarrassed and she said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ She said, ‘We’ve just had kind of a rough time.’ She said, ‘My husband and I both worked at carpet mills in Calhoun and I have had to give up my job to take care of our little girl, and we’re not able to afford the luxury anymore.’ When I got back to the car ... I thought, ‘If they consider a box of cereal a luxury, then forgive me for [having] so much when others have so little.’ So it just worked out that I could go to work there and I always think about that. Every time I tell that story, Kay, the director, she always cries. ... but we all have those moments ... [that] changes your life and you look at things from a different perspective.”
For more information about North Bartow Community Services and its upcoming food drive, call 770-773-3812.