More than 130 volunteers are helping the Marietta nonprofit distribute more than 80,000 food items to 1,200 families this year.
“It’s about the same as what we’ve seen the last few years, which is more than it used to be,” CEO Jeri Barr said. “Which is a signal of the times and how people find themselves in the economy.”
CFR registered income-eligible families for the food giveaway Oct. 16, with some lining up at the Cobb Civic Center as early as 2 a.m. On Thursday, Friday and, again, today, they received items for Thanksgiving dinner, with the amount of food based on family size. They get donated Thanksgiving staples including green beans, stuffing and mashed potatoes, as well as items designed to help the family make it through the rest of the week, when school is out.
“Most of the families are on free and reduced lunches, so it’s a burden for the family to have the whole family home during the week,” Barr said.
Families also get a $15 grocery store gift card to help them buy turkey or other meat.
CFR board member Misty Saldi of Marietta, who has volunteered for five years, said she enjoys the process of going through the building used for exhibits during the North Georgia State Fair to “shop” for food items for the needy families.
“I enjoy just going back and helping, but particularly CFR and the unique approach to picking out how they serve,” Saldi said. “They go through an involved process, so that it is not a handout, but a hand up. It doesn’t continue the cycle, it helps them get back on their feet and stay there.”
As she picked up her box of food, 30-year-old Roshawnda Brown of Smyrna said CFR is a blessing because she lost her job in October.
“It was looking a little tight,” she said. “It’s going to mean everything.”
Brown said she hopes to be on her feet by Thanksgiving in 2013. She already feels lucky because she won a new car in a radio station contest.
James Lanier of Acworth, who is volunteering for the first time with CFR this year, has enjoyed getting to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into providing food.
“It just shows how many hands it takes to help the community,” he said. “The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a kid,’ it takes a village to help out the community as well.”