Tags: Community & Outreach
Shari Nunez and Kim Boudet, founders of the Food for Thought Project, fill their signature bright orange-colored bags with donations provided by Forsyth County residents. (click for larger version)
November 13, 2012CUMMING, Ga. —Food for Thought Project volunteers drive throughout Forsyth County every other month to pick up food donations at residents' homes.
The donations, in bright-colored orange bags, go to fill area food pantries.
So when they heard that Citgo was holding its Fueling Good contest, awarding a $5,000 gas card to 12 nonprofits throughout the country, the Cumming-based Food For Thought Project knew they needed to enter.
The volunteer-based project was started in April 2011 by Shari and Charlie Nunez and Kim and Bert Boudet.
"Our organization is all volunteers, and we would love to be able to help them with their gas costs," Shari Nunez said.
Once the food is separated and organized for food pantry distribution, volunteers fill their cars with the signature orange bags of food and deliver them to several food pantries in the county.
A car load pulls up after a community collection at the Food for Thought warehouse. (click for larger version)
"Gas is expensive," Nunez said, "and our volunteers are not only giving us their time, but they're using their gas to help, too."
Nunez said the gas card would be even more helpful over the holiday season.
"Our donations doubled last December, and we expect they will again this year," she said.
"That means more driving at a time when budgets may be more stretched."
Nunez appreciates the extra holiday donations.
"It's nice to see everyone come together at a time when food is used in celebration," she said.
But Nunez asks the community to not forget about food pantries the rest of the year. "This is an ongoing need. Our community has hungry people all year," she said.
Homeowner Jennifer Nahrstadt, of Cumming, takes part in the orange bag brigade. She said it's a rewarding cause.
"It's really fulfilling to see how many tons of food are donated by folks around the county six times a year," Nahrstadt said. "We've been involved for two years now, and it's so easy. Just put your bag on your porch with food stuffs and they come get it."
Several food pantries in Forsyth County receive food from the Food for Thought Project.
Cecilia Fowler of Cumming Baptist Church is grateful for the additional food.
"We always have a need," she said. "Our members give money every month, and we're able to purchase staples, but the additional food we receive from the Food for Thought Project is vital."
Stacey Gravitt of Cumming First United Methodist Church agrees.
"We certainly benefit from the Food for Thought Project," Gravitt said. "Their program is a wonderful addition to our food pantry, and really makes it easy for people to be able to contribute."
Gravitt said the summer months bring in the least donations.
"Food pantries have an ongoing need for food, and the Food for Thought Project helps us tremendously," she said.
Both Fowler and Gravitt said their food pantries use the additional holiday food.
"We are grateful for the additional food because so many people come to us for it," Fowler said. "We do find though, that donations go down after the holidays."
Citgo's Fueling Good contest ends Nov 28. To vote for the Food for Thought Project, visit www.foodforthought-project.org.
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