A recent food drive at Huley Park in Milledgeville helped more than 300 area families.
Those involved with sponsoring the event also took time out to tell others about the importance of voting for the candidates of their choice, and other issues on ballots during election cycles.
Quentin T. Howell, along with Gregory Barnes, both local businessmen, teamed up with Timothy Maddox, who operates the MIA Food Bank.
“We worked with several organizations throughout Georgia in an effort to help people and to educate them on the importance of voting,” Howell told The Union-Recorder during a recent telephone interview.
One of those organizations included the political group, Black Voters Matter.
“They may be looked at as being political, but they are not always political,” Howell said.
One of the ways the organization helped the community in a non-political way was helping sponsor a grocery bag food drive.
“With the coronavirus COVID-19 surging in this community and surrounding counties, there are a lot of people out of work and hungry,” Howell said.
He said he and others decided to look outside the realm of politics to see what could be done in a sense to help those families and at the same time inform them of the importance of becoming registered to vote and then voting during early voting or in-person on Election Day.
The Black Voters Matter organization helped get things started and the food drive grew with the help and financial support of several other local organizations such as the Baldwin County Democratic Committee; and the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
“We were able to help a lot of families during desperate times,” Howell said. “It was truly a blessing.”
Howell said what was amazing to him was how many families deeply appreciated the help.
“That was why we did this food drive in the first place,” Howell said, who along with his wife, LaTonya, have helped spearhead many highly food drives throughout Milledgeville and Baldwin County for the past several years.
“It grew from us having just 50 to 75 grocery bags to give away to those in need to well over 300 multiple bags of assorted food to give away to needy families,” Howell said.
Those helped were from Milledgeville and Baldwin County, as well as from Hancock, Washington and Wilkinson counties.
Howell commended Maddox for donating a trailer-load of canned goods to the local food drive.
“I can’t thank him enough for what he did to make this latest food drive so successful,” Howell said.
Maddox operates a weekly food bank in the area that has helped countless families get through a lot of rough times, Howell said.
Another business that helped to make the local food drive so successful was Foster Meats on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milledgeville.
Howell said in the past that he and his wife had donated turkeys and hams - those kinds of meats to help needy families in the area.
“Foster Meats came out and helped us out in a big way, too,” Howell said.
The more everyone worked to make the community food drive successful, the bigger it got, he added.
All the volunteers distributing grocery bags of food to the needy families wore masks to protect themselves and others.
“We plan to do some more of these food drives this year, because we realize there is such a big need, especially with COVID-19 surging in our community and elsewhere,” Howell said.