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Food pantry nearly bare, needs help

COVINGTON -- Earlier this week, the Newton County Community Food Pantry was down to peanut butter, jelly and baked beans. Since that time, it has received additional goods from local churches that are regular donors, but supplies still remain low, said Executive Director Rosalee Thompson. Even staples like macaroni and cheese are depleted.

"We need food. We need your help with some food," is Thompson's plea to the community.

The pantry is now serving between 30 and 40 families a day. In the past, the average has been 15 to 20 families per day. The increase in demand has been noticeable for the past year, Thompson said, adding she can only attribute it to the economy.

"Donations are about the same, but the demand is bigger," she said.

The pantry relies on donations, both in food and money, from the community to stay afloat. It also receives a monthly stipend from the United Way and funds from other organizations. But lately, that hasn't been enough to keep the shelves properly stocked.

Food pantry workers typically use the funds to buy groceries once per month to stock the shelves, but lately they've been going once per week.

"We've been spending it big time. We won't have any left pretty soon," Thompson said.

Thanks to a food drive sponsored by the Bank of North Georgia and EMS students with DeKalb Technical College, the pantry recently received a shipment of more than 1,000 pounds of peanut butter. But supplies like bread, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, dried beans; flour, cornmeal, rice, sugar, grits, macaroni and cheese, and canned vegetables are needed.

Donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday and Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Friday at the pantry, located at 7125 Turner Lake Circle. Anyone who can't make it during those hours can call the pantry prior to their drop off to insure someone will be there. For more information, call 770-784-0037.