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Parsons pantry drive runs through July 18
Customers can also vote on top volunteer
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Gary Coffey with the Hightower Association loads the donated food into boxes. - photo by Jim Dean
A Cumming business has joined the fight against hunger.

Parsons, a home decor and collectibles shop in Lakeland Plaza, is collecting food from its customers through July 18.

Every customer who brings in a donation of at least three cans or boxes of nonperishable food will receive a $5 gift certificate, said Cris Willis, Parsons owner.

“All the food banks say their donations aren’t down, but there’s a really high increased need,” Willis said.

All food collected at the store will go to Hightower Baptist Food Bank in northern Forsyth County.

“Parsons has always been a well respected store. They’ve always been real involved in the community and wanting to give back,” said Sammy Wright with the food bank. “To have them pick us for these donations is just fantastic.”

Wright said Hightower is supported by 56 churches across northeast Georgia and on average gives more than $7,000 worth of food per month to families from Forsyth and surrounding counties. He said the need has increased greatly this year.

“We were giving to around 200, 225 families each month,” he said. “When the economy starting going down, it increased a lot. In May, we gave to about 400 families.”

Parsons employees also are searching for a local to nominate in a national promotion through Brighton accessory designers.

Willis explained that customers are being encouraged to nominate people or organizations who work or volunteer in the fight against hunger for the Brighton American Heroes program.

“All this really stemmed from Brighton,” she said. “They’re a very generous company. The owner has been choosing a different [cause] each year and designing a jewelry line or bracelet to donate the proceeds from every [Brighton] store.”

Last year, Willis said, Parsons joined with Brighton to raise money for wells in African countries. This year, the accessory company has created the “Feed Our Friends” jewelry line in support of stamping out hunger in America.

All proceeds from the sale of the special line from Parsons and other Brighton vendors across the country will be donated to the cause.

From the nominations received by customers, Parsons will submit the name of one organization in Forsyth that works to feed the hungry. That organization will be entered in a competition to earn funds through the Brighton promotion.

Willis hopes the store’s efforts, which began in late June, will continue to be successful.

“We’ve got a box exploding with food,” Willis said. “People have all been very appreciative for the opportunity to help. I think people want to do something good, but they just don’t always have an outlet. This gives people an easy outlet to help others.”

E-mail Crystal Ledford at