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'AMAZING': Covington members help club donate 2M food boxes in 10 months
Tina Fischlin
Rotary District Governor Tina Fischlin helps volunteers loads food boxes into vehicles Saturday at Covington First United Methodist Church. The 73-club district surpassed donations of 2 million boxes of food to area families during the event. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — Covington members were some main coordinators of the Rotary Clubs' north Georgia district’s effort that led to 2 million meals being delivered in 10 months to food-insecure area families.

Rotary District 6910, comprising 73 clubs including the Rotary Club of Covington, partnered with Covington First United Methodist Church Saturday, April 17, to hand out the district's 2 millionth meal to area families since June 2020. 

Club District Governor Tina Fischlin of Greensboro said she set a goal for the clubs to work to feed 1 million families — which was 10% of a larger goal set by some other districts — during a time of job layoffs and food insecurity because of COVID-19.

The 1 million goal was met in seven months and 2 million boxes had been given out 3-½ months later, club officials said. 

Fischlin credited Doug Bolton and Tarrence Houston of the Covington club for much of the impetus toward reaching a 12-month goal in seven months.

“It has just been an amazing program for our district (and) our community that we serve,” she said. 

“We are providing meals for homes and families — some who don’t know where their next meal is going to come from,” Fischlin said.

Each Rotary Club financially sponsored a truck, with the help of matching funds from Rotary District 6910 and The Rotary Foundation, and provided logistical and volunteer support to deliver the meals. 

Bolton helped coordinate the program and shipments of the boxes. Houston’s company, Sigma Logistics, provided much of the transportation needed, Fischlin said.

“Doug told me this has been extended through the end of May,” she said.

Houston said he donated his company’s equipment because “COVID affected us all.”

“We have people in need,” he said.

The boxes came from the federal Agriculture Department’s Farmers to Families Food Box program and Van Solkema Produce of Glenville after Rotary Clubs partnered with local food pantries and the USDA program to deliver boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat to families in need. 

Covington UMC’s food ministry worked with Rotary to coordinate Saturday’s effort which gave meals to six nonprofits and about 300 families.

Megan Hulgan leads the ministry, which is a mobile pantry that donates food the first Saturday of every month to at least 200 families, she said.

The Rotary helped provide the Farmers to Families boxes to the church and are an addition to its regular offerings, Hulgan said.

Margaret Wimberly of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church said the boxes meant a lot to the six families her church will help.

“People are just so glad to get food, especially people with children,” she said.