MOULTRIE, Ga. — The Moultrie Lions Club, which has sponsored six food giveaway events since early June, hopes to be able to make it a monthly event.
Brenda Arnold, treasurer of the club, said Saturday’s giveaway provided 1,920 boxes of produce, each weighing about 22 pounds, to people in need.
The club held similar events every Friday in June plus one on July 31, and Arnold said response has been strong every time. Saturday’s event started at 9:30 a.m. and in about two hours volunteers had emptied 18 of the 24 pallets of food boxes.
The giveaway is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. Farmers have seen a significant loss of customers as restaurants and schools closed for the coronavirus pandemic. The USDA is purchasing their produce to keep it from being plowed under, Arnold said. That produce is then given away through non-profit groups like the Moultrie Lions Club.
Arnold gave thanks to Evan Scheumaker, a Moultrie native who works for Collins Brothers Produce in Metro Atlanta. She said Sheumaker has ensured his hometown has received frequent visits from the company’s trucks.
“No other Lions Club has gotten six deliveries except Moultrie,” she said.
Arnold said the club has been in talks with Sheumaker to hold the giveaway once a month, starting next month and continuing as long as the Farmers to Families program goes on.
Other sponsors involved in the program are Memorial Baptist Church, where the giveaways are held, and DeMott Tractor, Sunbelt Ag Expo, Stones Home Centers, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Department and the Leo Club of Colquitt County.
More than 100 people volunteered on Saturday, Arnold said.
In addition to putting the boxes of produce in the vehicles as they pass through the church parking lot, volunteers take a moment to speak with the recipients, and Arnold said that gives them a perspective on the coronavirus.
During the first giveaway, one of the first cars in line was a red Corvette. One of the other volunteers, an older man who recipients got to early in the line, hollered out, “Don’t judge!” Arnold said she heard him say that three times before the Corvette got to where she was loading boxes into cars.
Then she spoke with the driver of the Corvette.
The woman was from Adel. Her husband had died of COVID-19, and her car had broken down. She’d had to teach herself to drive his standard-transmission ‘Vette on the backroads of Cook County so that she could drive to Moultrie to pick up the food box.
“COVID is no respecter of status, wealth or ability,” Arnold said.