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10,000 pounds of food is given to those in need

Susan Fowler said she has donated food to Manna and has helped distribute food.

"It's a little strange being on the other end of it," she said Saturday, as she waited to share in almost 10,000 pounds of food.

Manna, the local food bank, was just a part of the distribution at the Depot. Golden Harvest Food Bank brought 5,000 pounds of food that was made available through the USDA. Donated local watermelons and cantaloupes brought the total to almost 5 tons.

That would be enough to help more than 225 individuals and families.

These are trying times, Fowler said, as she worked her way toward the distribution point. Although she no longer has a full-time job, she tries to stay busy with elderly care and construction work.

Willie Myricks of Thomson, who stood two steps ahead of Fowler, said he might know of some carpentry work for Fowler. They exchanged phone numbers.

The people have no work, Myricks had said moments earlier. He said the donated food is "a God blessing."

Sonya Hamilton of Thomson, who waited between Fowler and Myricks, said the food will come in handy. "I really appreciate it," she said.

Although the distribution was advertised to start at 10 a.m., dozens were in line before 9 a.m. However, everyone who was in line by the advertised starting time received an equal share.

Volunteers sporting Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co. T-shirts began setting up before 8 a.m., and were on hand for cleanup until almost noon. Many volunteers were from First Baptist Church of Thomson or Long Creek Baptist Church of Warren County, or volunteered independently. Juddy Johnson, the Thomson branch manager for Queensborough, was on the front line. He said the bank had about a dozen volunteers on hand. Employees' family members also assisted. He said the Thomson branch bank has helped before. "This is the first time that we've actually hosted the event," he said.

Harvey Bellamy, the distribution manager and Manna coordinator for Golden Harvest, said the food parcels were assembled equally. Each contained four boxes of cereal, four cans of applesauce, two 32-ounce containers of cheese soup, two cans of tomato soup, four cans of mixed fruit, and four cans of cranberries. Assorted cartons of soda were available. Each eligible person received a share of the 550 pounds of M&Ms.

Recipient Valerie Belton of Thomson said the distribution is timely. "There are a lot of people who have no jobs and have no unemployment coming in," she said. "Appreciate what you get," she said. "It's a big help."

"It really helps," said James Farris, of Thomson, as he waited in line. "I go to Manna about once every 90 days rather than accumulate a whole lot of stuff that you're not gonna use," he said. "Being on a fixed income, something like this is a real help."

Myricks settled back into the line after giving Fowler a job contact number. "It's all about community," he said.

Fowler explained that the name Manna is really an acronym, and stands for "Meeting Area Needs Now and Always."

"And they do," she said.

Manna Inc. serves McDuffie and Warren counties.

The pantry is located at 451 E. Hill St. For hours and eligibility information, call (706) 595-3138.

"We want to thank everybody who helped us out, especially the city of Thomson for letting us use the facility," Johnson said.

"We were very pleased with the response we got from the community," he said.

Web posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011

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