The Columbia Family Center received a semi-truck loaded with more than 40,000 pounds of non-perishable food ready for distribution to local families in need of assistance.
“This is the largest lifelong gift we have ever received,” said Dawn Taylor, executive director of the nonprofit. “It overflowed our shelves.
Taylor said the food will be stored at the centre’s office at 921 Beckett St. and distributed to families as needed in the weeks and months to come.
Also known as South Central Family Center, Inc., the operation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to empowering individuals to break the cycle of poverty.
The association provides a mix of services, including a food bank, which offers immediate practical assistance as well as an additional focus to help families restore stability through counseling that allows them to seek stability over the years. future.
Taylor said the donation of long-lasting canned fruits and vegetables, flour, pasta, gravy and beef stew comes at a time when the center is experiencing a prolonged lull in donations but an increase in the number of visitors seeking help.
“It’s coming at a good time,” Taylor said. “It really filled a lot for us. The children are coming out of school. We still see a slight uptick during this time. Everyone is just going to have a lot of food. We will be able to serve more and not be afraid of running out of food for a while. “
Last year, as COVID-19 led to increased unemployment with many businesses unable to operate due to the presence of the virus, the Family Center provided assistance to more than 600 households.
Now, following a wave of relief funds from the federal government, Taylor said the organization currently helps about 300 households each month, down from the average of 400 families assisted by the organization before the pandemic. .
“We’ve gone from hundreds of people to a handful,” Taylor said.
But as relief funds dry up, Taylor said she expects the recent donation to support local families as more returns to the center for help in the months to come.
“We imagine people will come back,” Taylor said.
A gift by faith
The donation is a gift from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Department of Welfare and Self-Reliance Services, coordinated by Maury County Deputy Director of Emergency Management Pat Woodmansee.
“Serving others as Jesus Christ did is central to who we are,” said James Steanson, stake president of the church, said in a press release.
Steanson oversees 10 congregations in Columbia, Dickson, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Linden and Spring Hill.
“These tough times can get the best out of everyone,” Steanson said. “We are truly grateful for the resources and the ability to help our neighbors and friends. “
Last year, the church donated food trucks to organizations in Clarksville, Franklin, Memphis, Dickson and Murfreesboro.
Donations were enough to fill seven 53-foot trailers with food and other essentials.
Steanson said the church continues to see the same pace in 2021.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welfare and empowerment services department focuses on ministry for temporal needs, strengthening spiritual and temporal self-reliance, and for both blessing the one who gives and the one who receives.
Steanson said the church has more than 100 Bishop warehouses across the United States that provide food and household items to those in need.
Items donated to the Family Center were provided through fast offerings and other generous donations from church members.
Food and supplies from the church’s bishops’ warehouse are also being sent to people affected by natural disasters, wars or economic crises, Steanson said.
He said the church has also committed $ 20 million to support UNICEF’s global response to COVID-19 and is providing medical and emergency supplies, commodities and training health professionals in prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in 39 countries around the world.
How to help the Columbia Family Center
As the Family Center continues to sort the more than 40,000 pounds of food, Taylor said the organization needs volunteers to help with the process of sorting and storing it for future use.
Those interested in helping out in the process should call (931) 388-3840 or email [email protected]