COVINGTON, Ga. — Volunteers from throughout Newton County took time off from work or leisure Tuesday to help some fellow area residents in need.
The Salvation Army hosted its Fishes and Loaves food box giveaway Tuesday, May 25, which sought to provide boxes of food free to 500 people on a first-come, first-served basis with “no questions asked.”
Volunteers from Takeda Pharmeceuticals, Solid Rock Baptist Church and Salvation Army board members were among those working in assembly-line fashion at times to load food boxes into car trunks and back seats outside First Baptist Church of Covington.
Salvation Army advisory board member Sam Ozburn praised Takeda workers for helping with the distribution — noting about 50 had helped fill boxes the day before the event.
“They’re a God-send,” the retired judge said of the Takeda workers.
Companies like Food Depot, General Mills and Kroger either donated or sold their food at deep discounts to the agency and were major contributors to the effort, said advisory board member Donna Sneed.
Sneed, who was a main organizer of the project, said she began working on the Fishes and Loaves project in early March.
She said some who came through the line Tuesday were seeking food for three generations of their families. One family was asking for food to feed 13 children, she said.
Volunteers filled two kinds of boxes. One contained non-perishable foods like cereal and apples, while the other had perishable foods like whole fryers, milk, cheese, chicken nuggets and more.
All were filled with copies of the New Testament, she said.
Sneed said numerous retailers and industries assisted with the effort.
General Mills donated 500 boxes of cereal and numerous boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups, while Kroger provided numerous refrigerated items and Food Depot came through with a major last-minute supply of food, Sneed said.
One retailer donated 4,000 apples, she said.
Quynesha Threatt, a laboratory technician at Takeda, said she was taking part in the effort because there are “a lot of people in need” and she wanted to join some of her co-workers in helping the Salvation Army.
She said Takeda allowed its workers to take time off to volunteer in the community and she “decided to help.”
Janene John, the company’s human resources director, helped guide vehicles through the loading area Tuesday.
She said Takeda encourages its employees to assist in the communities in which it operates — though she added she believed most would be volunteering their time anyway.
Ozburn, a retired Newton County Superior Court judge, also helped guide vehicles into the loading area.
He said he has worked to assist the Salvation Army in Newton County for 30 years in its mission to help local families in need with everything from clothes to food.
“It’s just a blessing to be able to do this,” he said.