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Christian Service Center asking for donations ahead of busy holiday season

HUGULEY — The Christian Service Center has been helping families in need for more than three decades now. People from throughout Chambers County, West Point and eastern Lee County have gotten food assistance from the Christian Service Center since 1990. It has always been a tough job to help everyone in need, but Covid-19 has made it even more difficult.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have purchased most of the food that has been distributed,” Director Cheryl Meyers said. “Like many other shoppers, we cannot always find the specific items we need nor the quantity we need. On Thursday of this week, we served 13 families. Approximately 325 canned food items and 350 boxed items were distributed along with items from our freezers.”

Those who support the continuing work of the Christian Service Center can offer a big boost by contributing to an upcoming food drive. It will be taking place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Sept. 25 in the parking lot next to South State Bank in Valley.

It will be the first time in more than two years the Christian Service Center has held a major food drive.

Women from the Shawmut Baptist Church will be there to pick up groceries, count and separate items and put them in a trailer. As a Covid-19 safety measure, the volunteers will be wearing masks. People making donations don’t have to get out of their cars.

“All you will have to do is hand the items to one of the volunteers,” said Christy Eddy, assistant director.

Suggested canned food items include any variety of peas, any variety of beans, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, fruit, meats, carrots, lima beans, soups, peanut butter, greens, spaghetti sauce, low sodium and sugar-free items. Among the suggested boxed items are mac and cheese, hamburger or tuna helper, spaghetti, rice, dry beans, instant potatoes, jello, cake mix frosting, cereal and crackers.

Families that are really struggling right now are those whose only source of income is Social Security or disability. “The increasing prices for gasoline, groceries and the basic cost of living has hit us all but is especially hard on them,” Myers said.

The Christmas season will be here before we know it. The Christian Service Center is now taking applications for the “Filling Santa’s Sleigh” program. Applicants may text their name, address and the children’s name and birthday to (334) 476-2605. Parents will be interviewed by phone to start the application process.

Myers is expecting an increase in the number of adults seeking assistance.

“We will appreciate anyone making donations to help us meet their needs,” she said. “We will be needing help with personal needs, gift cards and clothing. Children will be needing new toys, new clothing and new shoes.”

Located at 5340 Cusseta Road in Lanett, the Christian Service Center is following safety guidelines recommended by national food banks.

“We are doing all we can to protect our volunteers and clients,” Myers said. “We are remaining as contact-free as we can. We are limiting the number of volunteers in the building at any time, and everyone in the building is wearing a mask. The building is frequently cleaned and sanitized. We have had no cases of Covid among our volunteers.”

Clients do not have to get out of their vehicles while their items are being prepared.

“We want to thank our donors who have continued to support the Christian Service Center through these trying times we’ve been going through,” Myers said. “There are so many needs out there, but together we can make a difference in our community. I really believe that.”