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Brighton up their day
Food banks receive aid through Parsons
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Forsyth County News
How to help

For more information on the food banks, including how to donate, visit their Web sites:

  • There’s Hope for the Hungry —
  • St. Joseph’s Food Pantry —
  • The Place of Forsyth County —
Three Forsyth County food banks have been honored through a national business campaign.

There’s Hope for the Hungry, The Place of Forsyth County and St. Joseph’s Food Pantry all received monetary awards through the Brighton Feed Our Friends fundraiser.

Parsons of Cumming, a gift and collectibles store that carries the Brighton line of specialty jewelry and handbags, nominated the three organizations during a promotion last year.

Cris Willis, owner of Parsons, said the store sold a special line of jewelry through the campaign. The proceeds from the jewelry sales went into a fund, raising about $310,000 nationwide.

In the meantime, Brighton customers were invited to nominate organizations from their local communities that provide food to those in need, as well as participate in a food drive for those groups.

This year, Brighton selected “dozens” of deserving food banks from across the nation to receive a portion of the proceeds, said Brighton spokeswoman Carol Lanham.

Among them were the three Forsyth groups.

“We were really thrilled to have three organizations from here in Forsyth chosen,” Willis said.

There’s Hope for the Hungry, a ministry of First Redeemer Church in south Forsyth that works with 25 other churches around North Georgia to distribute food, earned $5,000.

Organizer Scott Phillips said the money will be put to good use as the program buys nearly 500,000 pounds of food from the Atlanta Community Food Bank each year.

“Last year, we distributed food to 28,000 families in north Georgia,” Phillips said.

The Place and St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, a ministry of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, each received $2,000.

The Place, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, distributes food six days a week, as well as offering a noon meal and “surplus room” featuring bread and desserts each Wednesday.

The nonprofit also gives out special food boxes and gift certificates at Thanksgiving.

Director Sandy Beaver estimated her organization distributed more than $700,000 worth of food to families in need last year.

While it hasn’t been around nearly as long, St. Joseph’s Food Pantry at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, has provided food to more than 430 families.

Barbara Gordon, an organizer of the pantry, said the ministry is celebrating its first anniversary this month.

“We sat there last year and wondered if there was really a need for us,” she said. “And now we have 10 to 15 new clients coming in each week.”

St. Joseph’s distributes food once a week on Wednesdays through volunteer efforts of parishioners at St. Brendan’s and other groups like Scout troops.

Both Beaver and Gordon said it’s “incredible” to have support of businesses like Parsons and Brighton.

“Without support like this, we would only be able to do a fraction of what we do,” Gordon said. “The support of our parishioners is stable, but without outside support like this, you just can’t grow.”

Added Beaver: “It’s even more important to have support like this now during these difficult economic times. In the past two years, we’ve had more need than ever before. Everyday someone new walks in.”