Carpet City Rotary Club distributes food to local families in need

Contributed photo

Carpet City Rotarians and school staff standing in front of the last truck that was loaded to take food to one of four distribution sites.

 

The Carpet City Rotary Club, aka morning Rotary, continues to open doors of opportunity to families in Whitfield County.

The club celebrated World Earth Day last week by distributing 1,000 boxes of fresh food to local families, at no charge.

Earth Day fell on April 22 this year. This year’s theme was “Restore Our Earth” and encouraged all to appreciate humankind’s connection to the Earth and examine ways to restore the world’s ecosystem.

Club Service Chairman Mike Wilson suggested Earth Day as the date for this project: “What better way to encourage people to take care of our planet than by appreciating what it does for us, namely, providing food. If we take care of Earth, it will continue to take care of us.”

The club secured a truckload of food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families program. According to the USDA website, “As part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program announced on April 17, 2020, USDA exercised authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need. Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) partners with national, regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $6 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products from American producers of all sizes. Distributors package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving Americans in need.”

As a nonprofit, Carpet City Rotary was eligible to participate in the program and provide food to local families in need. Each box contained milk, yogurt, cheese, chicken, hot dogs, cantaloupe, squash and oranges.

The club partnered with Whitfield County Schools and Dalton Public Schools to distribute the food boxes. Each school system identified the students with the most need and worked with the Rotary club to ensure those families received food.

Caroline Woodason, director of School Support for Dalton Public Schools, remarked, “This was a wonderful opportunity for our Dalton public school families in need to receive food boxes with dairy, meat and fresh fruit and vegetables. DPS appreciates the Carpet City Rotary Club for organizing the event and the Mack Gaston Community Center for their willingness to be our distribution location. Our community partners help create the Dalton Difference!”

As people of action, Rotarians use their connections to find creative solutions for today’s problems. The club used the powers of the Rotary network and its community partnerships to tackle a major challenge in this community, that of food insecurity. Club President Jackie Killings commented, “This is what Rotary is all about, finding resources from around the state, the country and the world to meet local challenges. Also, we are a small club with 13 members and could not have pulled this off without the help of Dalton Public and Whitfield County Schools. It was a great collaboration that benefited 1,000 local families.”

Tracie Hogan Simmons, lead social worker for Whitfield County Schools, summed it up best: “It was an amazing day! Food insecurity is an ongoing need amongst our families, the food they received was life=changing and made a great impact. Through this act of kindness, we were able to demonstrate care and compassion for many families beyond the walls of the schools. It truly takes a village! I am so thankful for this partnership with Carpet City Rotary to help meet the needs of our families.”

To learn more about the Carpet City Rotary Club, follow it on Facebook or contact club President Jackie Killings at jmkillings@yahoo.com.

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