Feed the Hungry makes more than $3,000 at roadblock

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

Vidalia &8212; The morning traffic on Concordia Avenue was a bit slow Thursday, but it was no accident.

Feed the Hungry held its annual roadblock to collect money it uses to provide food to the needy people of Concordia Parish.

Thanks to Santa, a clown and members of the Vidalia community, the group hauled in $3,386.78 to help in its efforts.

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&8220;We appreciate everything everyone did,&8221; Feed the Hungry&8217;s founder Linda Bonnette said. &8220;We&8217;re excited about it. Thank you all so much for everything.&8221;

She said the help of the entire Vidalia community made the success possible.

&8220;With the city behind us these three years, there are no words to describe what it means,&8221; she said.

Vidalia Police Department Captain Frank Webb, from his collection station between lanes, said she didn&8217;t need to try.

&8220;We love to do it, a lot of people are less fortunate and people are being very generous,&8221; he said.

Webb said he and officer Drew Harrison were not using their side arms to encourage larger donations.

Bonnette started Feed the Hungry nine years ago out of her church, Vidalia First Assembly of God.

What began as a plastic bin to collect cans has grown into a major source of support to the poor in the community.

Every month the group delivers 50-pound boxes of food to 250 families in the area. At a cost of approximately $10 per box, fundraising is very important to its operation.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland spent part of the morning soliciting donations and said he was happy to do what he could to help.

&8220;We appreciate everyone contributing; it&8217;s a wonderful cause that helps people throughout the parish,&8221; he said.

It also helps those involved in the group, as Sarah Chestnut, 9, said.

&8220;It&8217;s more blessed to give than to receive,&8221; she said.

The record haul comes at a good time for Feed the Hungry.

As with so many charitable organizations in the Miss-Lou, Feed the Hungry&8217;s resources were strained by Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the families on its rolls &8212; plus the emergency cases it helps &8212; Bonnette said the influx of evacuees stretched the group thin.

But they didn&8217;t have to turn anyone away.

&8220;While our obligation is to the people in our program, we did everything we could to help everyone who came to us,&8221; she said.

Thanks to the community&8217;s generosity, Bonnette hopes that policy won&8217;t change anytime soon.