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Food drive reaches out
Goal is to collect year round
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Forsyth County News

At a glance

For more information, or to sign up, visit www.foodforthought-project.org.

For two Forsyth County couples, launching the Food for Thought project was a no-brainer.

The newly formed community initiative gathers food donations from doorsteps every other month and delivers the collections to local food banks.

The group gathered 942 pounds for three community food pantries in its first collection in June, co-founder Shari Nunez said.

They hope to more than double that amount for the second scheduled pickup on Aug. 13.

"We want to hit our first ton," Nunez said.

Nunez, one of the four founders and organizers, said about 140 had signed up to participate in the initiative as of last week. The goal is to hit 200 before the next collection.

People who sign up on the program’s Web site will receive a bright orange bag at their home.

Once signed up, volunteers will come every other month unless donators respond otherwise to the e-mail notification.

A list of foods can be found on the program Web site, though Nunez said Hispanic foods and general baking supplies are typically in need.

The program recommends that each person purchase one extra food item to put in the bag for the home pickup, which should total about eight things.

"It’s just so easy because they don’t have to do anything extra. They’re already at the grocery store," Nunez said. "All they have to do is open their door and stick it out on their front porch."

The idea came about while Nunez, her husband and a neighboring couple were looking for ways to give back to the community.

They chose to donate to food pantries to fill a constant need, Nunez said.

"There are so many food drives that happen around the holidays, but the food banks are in dire need of food year-round," she said.

Nunez’ husband borrowed the program structure for Food for Thought from a California group called A Simple Gesture.

Since the first pickup in June, they’ve received great feedback from participants and local food banks.

Three pantries benefitted from the program in June, including Abba House Ministries, Cumming First United Methodist Church and Mountain Lake Church.

Stacey Gravitt, pantry organizer at CFUMC, said the church serves about 450 to 500 families per month, so any donations are always welcome.

Often times, Gravitt said businesses or organizations will hold food drives to benefit the CFUMC pantry, but Food for Thought provides a continual and direct collection.

"With this, it’s taking the work out of it for everybody else. That’s why I think it’s a good idea," Gravitt said. "It’s taking the hard part out of giving."

The same three food pantries will benefit from collections again in August, as well as St. Joseph Food Pantry at St. Brendan Catholic Community Church.

Nunez said volunteers are still needed to help with the pickup day. Those who are interested can indicate it on their signup form.

The Food for Thought group plans to grow the program, and Nunez said the positive feedback so far has given her high hopes.

"It’s been very heartwarming to see how giving this community is because there is a big need here," she said.