MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County students in public and private schools collected nearly 12,000 pounds of nonperishable food items for the fourth annual “Stuff the Truck” food drive as a way to help fill shelves at local food pantries and feed those less fortunate.
“We decided that this is a great project to involve all of the school kids by having them collect food within their schools in an effort to fill local food banks, which gets low during this time of year,” Oconee Prevention Resource Council (OPRC) Executive Director Judith Keim said Tuesday while stopping at Baldwin High School to collect 12 boxes of goods. “We have canned, bagged and boxed goods of soups, vegetables, sugar, nuts, mixes, Ramen noodles and loads more; everything except fresh or frozen foods and meats.”
Approximately 6,500 Kroger bags were distributed to students within the Baldwin County public school system, Georgia College Early College, Georgia Military College and John Milledge Academy.
“Creekside Elementary School donated their goods to Hardwick Baptist Church,” Keim said. “This is definitely not an individual project, it’s a community effort.”
Sponsors for the annual food drive event are Baldwin County public school system, JMA, GMC, Salvation Army, OPRC, Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County, Life Enrichment Center (LEC), Georgia College’s GIVE Center, Kroger and Family Connection.
“It’s a great event to have the community involved to help a community need,” GIVE Center Director Kendall Stiles said. “Students understand how to make a difference and give back to their community. The Youth Leaders America Conference took this on as their project and it gave them skills how to implement planning at their high school.”
After Keim and a group of volunteers from Georgia College and the LEC traveled to all of the school sites Tuesday, the Salvation Army truck finally unloaded around 250 boxes of goods at the Chard Wray Food Pantry. Items will be distributed to all other local food pantries and individuals in need.
“[Chard Wray Food Pantry Director] George Sargent said he wishes someday Baldwin County can come together and have one food bank, like where the old Winn-Dixie is; that would make a great central location. We would like to see the number decrease, and it’s our hope that the years will improve,” Keim said. “This is a wonderful way to help our neighbors as we approach both the holidays and cooler weather while not as many gardens are still functioning. We all know it’s been a tough year for many of our friends, family and neighbors, so in the tradition this great nation of ours has adopted and embraced since its inception, we’ll reach out and help someone.”
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