The Union Recorder

October 2, 2013

Georgia Power volunteers provide meals, smiles

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia Power employees from Plant Branch exemplified the motto “A Citizen Wherever We Serve” by dedicating a portion of their day to help lift spirits Tuesday, Sept. 24. 

They helped prepare, cook and serve fresh, hot meals to those less fortunate at Cafe Central.

“I know about Cafe Central because I attend Freedom Church, so I said why can’t we cook, provide the meal, serve the meal and clean up the meal for one Tuesday at Cafe Central as our community service project for Plant Branch,” said Stan Locke of Georgia Power, who was in charge of organizing the company’s community service project. “By volunteering and providing a service to more needy people in the county, we’re truly showing that we do more than just provide electric power.”

A total of 36 Georgia Power volunteers worked in shifts to serve up their donation of last Tuesday’s meal — pulled pork barbecue sandwiches, French fries, coleslaw and baked beans. Kroger continued to provide the large assortment of breads and desserts.

“Georgia Power is committed to the community in a lot of different ways, and this is just another example of making a better community for us to work and live in,” said Regina Linch, a Georgia Power volunteer, while helping the set up crew set tables and fill drinks. “It’s unbelievable what [Cafe Central] is doing every week for this community. This is service to the community at its highest. We all give back to the community in different ways, but this is definitely a worthwhile event. I know that I feel very blessed to be part of this event and be able to brighten somebody else’s day.”

Cafe Central serves up to 400 individuals with a free meal every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Freedom Church on Underwood Road with the help of volunteers and donations.

“Georgia Power being here is important because through the summer we really struggle; the money we received has decreased tremendously. For Georgia Power to bring this many people in and pay for all of these people is just wonderful; I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it,” said Ann Bowen, Cafe Central director. “When I came in [Tuesday morning], Georgia Power was just working away; they didn’t even look up. It’s awesome to see people working wholeheartedly.”

Milledgeville resident Barbara Henderson has been a frequent guest at Cafe Central for the past month. Her first visit uplifted her soul.

“The community and surrounding areas can come here to eat free of charge; it’s a blessing to have this kitchen open. For me as a 65 year-old, I don’t have to worry about cooking on Tuesdays,” she said. “I would love to help out but I physically can’t. It’s a blessing these people help volunteer to help people that can’t help themselves.”

Various canned food items, flour, sugar and paper products, including paper towels and toilet paper, are needed to keep the food pantry stocked.

“Our pantry is very lean right now. We give away small cans to families, but we need No. 10 cans to cook with. If it’s green beans or any sides, it takes 20 of those No. 10 cans for one meal,” Bowen said. “We welcome the public to please come because we offer so much more than just food. It doesn’t matter how much money you have; you can volunteer, have a meal or talk to our guests and lift their spirits. It will make a huge difference in their lives.”

For more information about the soup kitchen or to donate funds, supplies or food items call Bowen at 478-457-7213.

“Preparing the food and cleaning up is great, but being able to interact one-on-one with guests we’re feeding is what it’s really about. For a lot of people, this is the only hot meal they will have,” Locke said. “Cafe Central assists them and makes their lives a little better. Georgia Power also truly cares about our community, and we strive to be a citizen wherever we serve.”

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