Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Visit to Jasper County Community Food Bank

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been looking for some hands-on ways to be involved with my charities throughout A Year of Centuries.  What better way to do this than to volunteer for a day at the Jasper County Community Food Bank (JCCFB)?  JCCFB is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.  Today seemed the ideal day to volunteer because it’s the first day of October, the month when I’m highlighting JCCFB.  It’s also my birthday – a good excuse to take a day of vacation from work.  I’m so glad I visited JCCFB.  It was very gratifying to see people in need in Jasper County being served with love and respect.

Each month JCCFB feeds over 250 families and individuals.  JCCFB has two programs for distributing food: the warehouse and mobile distribution.  The warehouse is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Clients can come up to twice per month to the warehouse.  It has primarily non-perishable canned and boxed goods, but if fresh produce is available, it is distributed, too.  Clients have punch cards so that JCCFB can keep track of visits the warehouse:

In addition to two monthly visits to the warehouse, clients also can sign up for once-per-month mobile distribution.  Mobile distribution is on the 4th Thursday and Friday of the month (families on Thursday and seniors on Friday).  Mobile distribution means that trucks from the Middle Georgia Food Bank in Macon come to Monticello; clients still have to pick food up at JCCFB.  The mobile food bank distributes about 6 ½ tons of food each month.  Mobile distribution items come prepackaged: boxes for families and bags for seniors.  Additionally, the Middle Georgia Food Bank sends fresh produce and usually fresh meat.  Last Thursday, September 26, was a mobile distribution day.  A few packages were still available today, which will be distributed as emergency needs.

Mobile distribution boxes for families:

Mobile distribution bags for seniors:

Additionally, some fresh produce was still available from last Thursday’s mobile distribution, which was added to warehouse pickups today:

The warehouse punch cards are valid for a full year, but clients have to sign up by the 15th of each month, every month, for mobile distribution.  This is so that JCCFB will know how many prepackaged units to order from the Middle Georgia Food Bank.  This is the mobile distribution form that clients have to fill out each month:

This is an order form that JCCFB sent to the Middle Georgia Food Bank last month:

So, what does the warehouse look like?  It is well organized:

USDA shelves

SNAP shelves

Miscellaneous food shelves

Paper product shelves

Refrigerator room with fresh produce (was full last Thursday)

Freezer room (was full last Thursday)

Guidelines for how many USDA and SNAP items to distribute

Of course, all of this organization doesn’t just happen.  It’s possible thanks to the dedication of excellent volunteers.  This is Mary.  I can’t remember her title, but she knows EVERYTHING that goes on at JCCFB:

Mary was very kind and made sure that I had a chance to see all aspects of JCCFB.  One of Mary’s biggest responsibilities is interviewing clients, determining their eligibility for services from JCCFB.  This includes new clients as well as annual renewals for existing clients.  Mary asked me to sit in on a few interviews today.  She also let me laminate some warehouse punch cards.  The laminating machine was fascinating!

I also did some data entry for mobile distribution from last Thursday.

Aretha is the receptionist.  She greets clients, has them fill out paperwork, and schedules appointments with Mary.  Aretha and I have the same birthday today!

Other volunteers showed me various other aspects of JCCFB, like what goes in a typical warehouse distribution bag.  Everyone was so warm and friendly!  I was especially tickled when someone gave each of us volunteers a rhinestone decorated pirate eye patch.  Arrr!  If only we didn’t have to wait nearly a whole year (September 19th) until the next International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

It truly was a wonderful day.  I wish we didn’t have such need in Jasper County, but how blessed we are to have the resources – people and food – of JCCFB.  I strongly encourage you to visit JCCFB or the food bank closest to your home.

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