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Businesses help fill holiday need
Food drives under way
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Forsyth County News

• Donations can be made anytime to The Place of Forsyth County. Contact: (770) 887-1098 or

• For more information on the Food for Strings program at the Music Authority, contact (770) 886-9066 or

• For more on the Red Oak food drive and donation sites, contact (678) 455-7819 or
With growing demand for help, The Place of Forsyth County is relying more than ever on its friends in the business world.

“The support of the business community is critical,” said Sandy Beaver, executive director of the nonprofit social services organization. “Without their help, we’d be falling short.”

As in years past, the Music Authority and Red Oak Sanitation were quick to respond to the call.

Melissa Loggins, who co-owns the Music Authority with husband Andrew, said the company has been giving back to The Place since it opened in 2002.

“Every year, we do some sort of drive for them,” Loggins said.

This year, the business is offering its Food for Strings program. Customers who bring in five cans of food before Nov. 29 can have their guitars restrung for free over Thanksgiving weekend.

Loggins said the cost is typically about $12 to $15.

“I can afford a few dozen sets of strings if it means more families in our community [can have a holiday meal],” she said. “We’re asking our customers to give, so we can give a little bit too.

“Community service is really important to me. I’ve been in Girl Scouts for 22 years, so it’s a big part of who I am and what I do.”

For Hall County-based Red Oak Sanitation, charitable donations are spread to nonprofits across the four counties it serves, including The Place in Forsyth and the Barrow County Cooperative Benevolence Ministries.

About 5,000 of Red Oak’s 20,000 customers are Forsyth residents, said Aron Dunn, spokesman.

Red Oak’s food drive runs through Friday. Customers can leave canned food and clothing along with their trash during regular pickup days.

Donations should be clearly marked and left alongside trash bins, Dunn said.

“Right now, times are tough with the state of the national economy, and that means donations may be down as well, so we’re trying to do what we can to help out,” he said. “[The Place] is fantastic. They are a really good organization.

“Everything has gone perfectly the first two years and we’re going to continue to work with them as long as they’ll have us.”

Based on a rise in demand and drop in supplies, Beaver welcomes all the help she can get. About 40 percent of donations received, she said, come from businesses.

But with a 30 percent increase in food needs and a 45 percent dip in financial contributions, Beaver is hoping the holiday season will bring some additional generosity.

“When people learn there is a need, especially in our community, they will respond,” she said. “This week, through Monday, all the food will be coming in for Thanksgiving ... but the needs are ongoing. They don’t stop around the holidays.”

This is the third year Red Oak has held its food drive. Last year, the company collected and delivered about six tons of food and clothing to The Place. About 4,000 cans of food were collected on Monday.

Loggins said about 400 students attend the company’s private music school, so she is hoping for many donations.

In addition to Food for Strings, the business is also holding a free holiday concert featuring the Forsyth Community Chorale and the Music Authority’s drum and guitar ensembles.

Donations from the event, which is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at LifePoint Christian Church, will go to the local YMCA Giving Tree.

“We wouldn’t be here if the community wasn’t here for us,” she said. “We have extremely loyal customers and ... It is important for me to give back what we can.”