The Place of Forsyth is preparing to take charity and dignity out on the road with their brand new mobile food pantry.
On Thursday evening, the new mobile food pantry — a large box trailer equipped with enough food to serve hundreds of in-need Families countywide — was unveiled and dedicated at an event hosted by the Jonathan Brockman Law firm of Dahlonega Street in downtown Cumming.
According to Joni Smith, executive director of The Place of Forsyth, this new pantry is the 2018 class project for Leadership Forsyth, a local group dedicated to connecting leaders and inspiring them to make changes in the community.
Smith said that members of the 2018 class identified The Place’s need for the new trailer and made it happen.
“Since last summer the place has been delivering food to up to 275 families in our county that either can’t get to us due to lack of transportation or just don’t have access to a lot of fresh and healthy food,” Smith said. “The Leadership Forsyth team chose our mobile pantry as their class project for 2018; they designed, built and decorated this mobile pantry.”
She said that three years ago The Place transitioned to a “client’s choice” pantry that allows the clients to choose what they take home at the end of the day.
“We want to be the best stewards of that food that we can,” Smith said. “If I give you a box and that has peanut butter, and every box does because it’s a good protein source, you could be allergic to peanut butter. So we’ve wasted those resources.”
Smith explained that by giving patrons the choice of what they want to take home to their family, it gives them the dignity that others take for granted.
By having families come in and interact with them, it allows workers to communicate with them about their situation and talk to them about what’s going on in their life.
She said that in past years they have also found a percentage of residents who qualify to shop at The Place lack the ability to travel there.
“We have identified, with the help of the school system, about 275 households, a lot of them live in small trailer parks where their might not be a lot of access to foods or they lack the means to it,” Smith said. “So we have developed six different routes, and we work with volunteers to go out and deliver food on an ongoing basis. Staple produce, meat, we take whatever we can get donated and deliver it to families we know need it.”
According to Smith, this new mobile food pantry will allow people of any circumstance to “shop” for their foods from The Place.
“So it’s taking client choice on the road,” she said.