Thanksgiving signups begin at The Place

Need for food expected to rise this year

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Once again this year, The Place of Forsyth County will be feeding families in need during Thanksgiving, and like previous years, the food pantry is in need of restocking.

Since 1995, the nonprofit organization has provided Thanksgiving meals to the community.

Sandy Beaver, executive director for The Place, 2550 The Place Circle in Cumming, said the need in the community has fluctuated with the economy.

“Each person who signs up for Thanksgiving will get a box with a least one week’s worth of food,” Beaver said.

In addition, the family gets a gift card to purchase a turkey or ham.

The distribution happens on Saturday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23.

A sign-up cutoff date is Nov. 15. Food donations for the pantry are accepted all the time.

“The need for food never stops. In fact, the need for food keeps increasing,” Beaver said. “A lot of people for whatever reason can’t get food stamps, but they are still struggling.”

Donations pour in from Publix Supermarket customers and community groups, and all county elementary schools collect a specific food item, including corn and pumpkin, and the food gets brought to The Place.

“We’ll have all this food from the schools that we can use to make up boxes,” she said.

The numbers this year of families in need is likely to increase, Beaver said.

“We’re wondering this year if it may pick up,” Beaver said. “Because people are coming for Christmas, they want to do Thanksgiving, also.”

This year, Christmas has been added to the services The Place is providing to the community, after the YMCA decided not to host the Christmas gift-giving this year.

Instead, Christmas is going to become a collaborative effort along with Loving Forsyth and The Place. The Place was asked to help along with school social workers to sign up and qualify families in need through Nov. 15.

Shirts, underwear, socks and toys will be the focus for children 15 and younger.

Each Wednesday at noon, about 80 to 100 people come to The Place to have lunch. The numbers increase in the summer when school is out. A sponsor for the service is needed for next year.

The Wednesday meals fulfill one of The Place’s goals, which is to ensure that no one goes hungry in Forsyth County. In addition, there’s the onsite food pantry, which is need of a refill.

“What’s really great is that our community comes together to make sure that those in need are taken care of,” Beaver said. “No one in our community should ever go hungry.”

County residents in need of assistance can call the office at 770-887-1098 for an appointment or visit www.theplaceofforsyth.org for more information. Meal sponsors are needed for specific Wednesday noon day meals in 2014. If a group is interested in providing a meal for about 100 residents, serving and cleaning up, call The Place of Forsyth County.

The Place of Forsyth Thanksgiving Food Box

What: Holiday food assistance program for Forsyth County families in need

When: Sign up for assistance now through Nov. 15

How: Assistance is based on need, and all hardships will be taken into consideration. Call The Place of Forsyth at 770-887-1098 for an appointment. Sign-ups are confidential. Documentation required for all applicants:

• Proof of all household income for the past 30 days (current food stamp approval letter can be used to verify income)

• Proof of residency

• Photo identification