Season of Wishes: Feed the Hungry seeks donations to keep feeding needy families

Published 12:10 am Saturday, December 13, 2014

NATCHEZ Feed the Hungry Director Sandra Vanier knows there are people in need — especially during Christmas.

Approximately 239 families are on the Feed the Hungry program at First Assembly of God in Vidalia.

While each family will receive a 50-pound box of food, Vanier said the program is still in need of more goods.

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“We pick up our food from an Alexandria food bank for 18 cents a pound, but they are having a shortage right now,” Vanier said.

Vanier said the program needs any type of meat, with the exception of deer meat, by Dec. 19 so less-fortunate families can prepare a meal in time for Christmas.

The program will also take monetary donations.

Feed the Hungry is able to pay for its food through several fundraisers organized throughout the year and donations from the area.

However, Vanier has never seen one of her most fond donators for the past several years.

“For the past couple of years, an anonymous man has left $500 for Thanksgiving and helped out with Christmas,” Vanier said.

The anonymous giver, Vanier said, is nothing more than an angel.

“He told (Vidalia Market) years ago he was in need and was on our program, now he wants to give back,” Vanier said.

Vanier said the program has become well known as the parish continues to assist in the program’s efforts.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland and city workers will participate Friday in Feed the Hungry’s annual Red Light Drive, a major fundraiser to keep the program going.

“It’s such a great event,” Vanier said. “All of the city workers get on the road and take up money for Feed the Hungry. Last year, we raised over $6,000.”

Vidalia Lower Elementary School and Vidalia Jr. High School are also assisting the program by donating canned food items.

Vanier could not be happier for the program’s support, and she’s thankful to have taken over the program from her mother, Linda Bonnette.

“My mom started this in 1998, I took over last September,” Vanier said. “I didn’t want the program to stop — there were too many people in need.”

Donations can be brought to First Assembly of God in Vidalia on 4810 U.S. 84.

Those donating are asked to call 318-336-4050 before leaving non-perishable canned goods.

Monetary donations can be sent to P.O. Box 577, Vidalia, La., 71373.

Those who wish to have donations in for Christmas are asked to do so by Dec. 19.