Between Jan. 13-27, the Unite! Cobb campaign seeks to bring in 700,000 non-perishable food items for local food pantries, or one can for each county resident.
So far, the project will bring food to Alive Ministries Inc., Storehouse Ministries of Noonday Baptist Association, Family Life Restoration Center Inc., MUST Ministries, Shepherd’s House, Feed the Hungry Foundation, Lighthouse Community Ministries, Acworth Emergency Food Pantry and the Cobb Salvation Army. Organizer Lisa Joyner, outreach coordinator at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, said they are still looking for other agencies to assist.
The drive will set up collection points at Cumberland Community Church, McEachern United Methodist Church, Mt. Paran North, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and Orange Hill Baptist Church.
Joyner sees Unite! combining with some existing food drives, such as the “100 Days of School” campaign at several Cobb schools.
“We are inviting other churches, businesses, neighborhoods, schools, whoever wants to be a part of it, to become involved,” she said.
Unite! Is holding the drive in January because it feels that many food pantries have depleted their shelves during the holidays, when many disadvantaged children, who would get free and reduced priced lunch at school, are at home, Joyner said.
“If we all do it together, through a united front, we feel we can get the shelves stocked,” she said.
While Orange Hill averages around 120 congregants at its services, a fraction compared to Johnson Ferry’s 7,900 members, the church wanted to be involved in the drive, Orange Hill associate pastor Lin Harrison said.
“Events like this can give churches an opportunity to do more than something for the community,” Harrison said. “It can be an opportunity to do something with the community…When you do something with the community, basically you’re taking a little bit bigger picture of what the county is about.”
While Orange Hill has held smaller drives for food pantries, Harrison said this is the first time it’s participated in an event this large.
“We can do more together than we can do alone,” he said. “When churches lock arms, even across denominational lines, I think it is a wonderful witness to the community and we come together to do what it takes to make the community stronger.”
For more information on the food drive, visit http://uniteus.org/pages/regions/cobb.