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Food give-away program helping families with rising cost

You may have noticed that many cars were lined-up in downtown Hawesville around lunchtime last Friday, November 18. Julie Newton, Volunteer Director of the Hancock County Thrift Store & Food Pantry, received a bulk food giveaway from Gordon’s food chain supply (in Shepherdsville) through Feeding America in Elizabethtown and put the word out through Facebook asking people to spread the word.

These extra food giveaways are free to EVERYONE in Hancock County and Julie gets a short notice of when they will happen. The fastest way for her to spread word, she said, is on the Hancock County Thrift Store & Food Pantry Facebook Page. Please check there for future giveaways, as they are sporadic – the one before this was in June.

“We just gave each car an abundance,” Julie said, “and then they would go and share it with whoever they were picking up for and it made it so much easier on us volunteers.” She was very happy about the amount and variety of foods they were able to distribute, such as: berries, 5 lb bags of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cheese blocks, chicken, hamburger meat, cherry tomatoes and onions.

Volunteers help Julie distribute food and direct traffic. “They’re my regulars and I love them,” she said. “They’re good, hard workers.” The Audubon Area Retired Senior Volunteers who helped on Friday were: Carolyn Payne, Audubon Area Retired Senior Volunteers, Jamita Beaver, Karen Bolin and Donnie Gray, along with 2 of Julie’s daughters, Arikah Kratzer and Alesha Newton, and her sister-in-law, Jeanette Newton. The County Garage sent people to assist as well.

“We’re seeing more people now because of the cost at the grocery store compared to what it used to be,” she said. “Everybody is excited to have these giveaways. I have a regular monthly food pantry that does go by income and I have around 165 families right now.”

They distribute the food during the extra giveaways in the Food Pantry parking lot at 430 Main Cross Street in Hawesville. The Food Pantry is open on the third Tuesday of the third FULL WEEK of every month.

The Thrift Store is open on Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. for shopping and also for dropping off donations. Both are closed when the schools are closed. The monies from the thrift store go into the monthly food assistance program. They are ran completely by volunteers.

Along with volunteering as Director of the Hancock County Thrift Store & Food Pantry, Julie is also the Hancock County Community Service Coordinator for Audubon Area Community Services, located at 225 Main Cross Street in Hawesville. Her office is in the old jail quarters of the courthouse. The phone number is 270-927-6500. The website is “http://www.audubon-area.com“. There are other assistance programs such as for heating (LIHEAP) that she can help you with through her office. If you have questions, her email is: jnewton@audubon-area.com.

Other County Food Pantries

   There are 3 other Monthly Food Pantries in Hancock County: Lewisport Baptist Church’s is the 1st Friday of the month at 9 a.m. Drive-thru. No sign-up needed. Call 270-295-3322; Hawesville Methodist’s is the 2nd Saturday of the month at 8 a.m. Light breakfast served. Show proof of HC residency. Call 270-927-8404; and Blackford Baptist’s is the last Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. Call 270-927-6227 for more information.

Blessing Boxes

   There are also Blessing Boxes available at Hawesville IC Catholic Church, Bill’s IGA, New Life Baptist Church, Hilldale Methodist, Hancock Christian Church, Blackford Baptist, Safe Harbor Church and Hawesville Church of Christ. Take what you need and leave what you can for others.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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