Mobile Food Pantry Continues to Meet Needs

More than 1, 470 people from 14 different Georgia counties were fed Friday through a mobile food pantry held at the South Macon Navicent Family Health Center.

A packed parking lot, and cars waiting to turn in demostrated the need for this food give-a-way in Macon on Friday. (Nicole Bailey-Covin)

Cars poured into the Eisenhower Parkway shopping center parking lot, and families waited in vehicles for their turn to reach the front doors of the center. There about 60 volunteers, in assembly-line fashion, loaded vehicles with well-packed boxes of fresh foods including meats, fruits, bread, milk and canned foods.

This mobile pantry is the second drive-thru pantry provided by a partnership among Navicent, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank and World Changers Church in Macon. This  event is meeting the needs of hundreds of families impacted by COVID-19.

Jeff Battcher, chair of the board of the  Middle Georgia Community Food Bank said judging by the number of families they are feeding at this event, the need  and problem of food insecurity continues to be great.  Battcher said based on the Food Bank’s regular distributions, this has been a hard year for Middle Georgia families. 

 “Last year, we gave out approximately 11 million meals in our 24 counties. We’re on track this year to probably give out 19 million, almost 20 million meals. The need is just  tremendous throughout our 24 counties,”Battcher said.

Charles Krauss, a health educator at Navicent Health, said eight months ago the  agencies teamed up to start planning for these mobile pantries, recognizing the extra impact the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on  the income of area families.

Navicent’s employees have been involved in other volunteer efforts including the  first mobile pantry held on July 31.  Krauss said at that time the organizations distributed 25,000 pounds of food to approximately 1,800 individuals representing approximately 600 families. This time the food distribution was the same, reaching more than  550 families.

Krauss said a third food give-a-way will be scheduled, and the date and time will be announced once that is determined.