‘Biggest Food Drive’ aids 3 Fayette food pantries

Volunteers pitched and sorted donations for Fayette’s Biggest Food Drive at the drop-off point Saturday so the trailer could be loaded efficiently. Photo/John Munford.

By the time Fayette’s Biggest Food Drive ended Saturday afternoon, nearly half of a full-size tractor trailer was loaded down with food and other necessities for three local food pantries, who will in turn provide the goods exclusively to local residents.

Project director Arwen Mullikin said the idea spawned from a collection drive that was undertaken by the Fayette County Commission to help provide supplies for the residents of Adairsville following the tornado that devastated the town.

That led to Saturday’s event, which featured a host of volunteers collecting food and supplies such as laundry detergent and the like. Local residents answered the call with a steady stream of donations at the drop-off point staged at the county government complex in downtown Fayetteville.

With each donation, volunteers immediately began the sorting process so the tractor trailer could be organized well when it was loaded.

“We filled up half of a trailer, and it was definitely the biggest we’ve seen yet in Fayette County ... and a lot of people want to do it again,” Mullikin said.

As for the donations themselves, it took the good will of the community and people like David Jenkins of Fayetteville, who stunned volunteers by driving up not once but twice, delivering a surprise second truckload of food and supplies to help pitch in.

One by one, minivans, trucks and cars would park at the donation point and offload bags full of donations that will help their fellow man.

The end result was significant. The Real Life Center food pantry in Tyrone got an estimated 15,000 pounds of food from the drive, which also provided food for the Fayette Samaritans food pantry and the Joshua’s Gift food pantry, which provides food-filled backpacks for the weekends for children who are in need, Mullikin said.

Mullikin said she was very appreciative of the J93.3 radio station for helping publicize the event and in providing volunteers as well. Local civic groups including the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce pitched in, as well as the Fayette County Bar Association and others, Mullikin said.

“A vast array of people came out from lots of different organizations,” Mullikin said.

The tractor trailer was provided by Midwest Food Bank, an organization in Peachtree City that also helps feed the hungry.

Although they fell a bit short of the goal of filling the entire tractor trailer, Mullikin said there are already ideas being bandied about to help make Fayette’s Biggest Food Drive even bigger and better for next year.

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