Feed the Hungry drive set for Friday

Published 12:03am Wednesday, December 18, 2013

VIDALIA — Vidalia police and fire officials will be slowing traffic this week in the community’s annual effort to feed the hungry.

Vidalia First Assembly of God volunteers, first responders and city staff will man the corner of Carter and Cross streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday for a Red Light Drive, one of two major fundraisers each year that help fund Feed the Hungry, a benevolent ministry of the church, director Sandra Vanier said.

Volunteers will collect dollars and loose change from motorists in an effort to the fill the charity’s coffers.

“We’ve raised anywhere from $3,000 or $4,000 when it first started, and last year it was a little over $5,000,” Vanier said. “It has grown, and it is a tremendous help. Between that and the jambalaya dinner that the sheriff’s department sponsors in October, those are our two big fundraisers for Feed the Hungry.”

Police Chief Arthur Lewis said authorities have not had problems with the roadway fundraiser in the past.

“We just station officers at the intersection with their vehicles, along with the fire department, to make the public aware there is something going on, to slow them down and make sure the process goes safely,” he said.

Feed the Hungry feeds just more than 200 local families on the last Saturday of every month. The program also hands out food the Saturday before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of food is handed out each month to needy families.

“The more we get the word out and the more people realize what Feed the Hungry is, realize we reach a lot of senior citizens, single parents, they seem to be more into giving,” Vanier said. “This is really one of our biggest fundraisers. It looks good for our community that we have a program like this, because Adams County closed its food bank. We also give out to Adams County residents. Forty-something (of our clients) right now are Mississippi residents. We don’t just give out to Louisiana.”

The cost to sponsor a family for a month is $15 and for a year it’s $180. Income and number of people in the household determine eligibility for the program, Vanier said, and those interested can call Feed the Hungry at 318-336-4050.