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Food giveaways offer others a way to help neighbors

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UPDATED 10:30 a.m. THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2020

The City of Carterville has secured additional funding necessary to extend the free food giveaways.

The giveaway at the end of July was supposed to be the final one, but another event will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Since school is back in session, the food handout will be at Cannon Park instead of the high school.

Organizers said the city is also working to secure further funding to continue through the fall.

The next one is scheduled for Friday, August 28.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY (WSIL) -- Drive-through food giveaways have become more common in our region as the need continues, and those giveaways extend well beyond the parking lot.

Organizers say many of those in line, are there for someone else.

"It's very important in, the situation the world is in, to pay it forward," said Herrin resident Connie Macke, who was second in a line of cars that wrapped around the Carterville High School parking lot Friday morning.

"There's a lot more than there was two weeks ago," Macke said of growing number of vehicles lining up for the giveaway. Cars began lining up by 6:30 Friday morning, three hours before the giveaway was to begin. Organizers say the man first in line has returned for each giveaway, just to pick up and deliver to others in need.

Macke says she and many others waiting in line were also there to help their neighbors, "The elderly that can't get out, and stay home, cause they're afraid, they need the fresh fruit, the dairy."

The City of Carterville teamed up with several other local organizations to host six giveaways this summer. Members of the Lion's Club, Gum Drops, and Carterville Schools distributed more than 2,500 boxes of food at their giveaways through a USDA grant with Cusumano & Sons, Inc.

Friday's giveaway included more than 100 milk vouchers, through a community effort between the library in Carterville and local businesses. The vouchers are redeemable at Farm Fresh, who matched the library's donation to provide the offer.

"Most people that come through here aren't even taking it home, they're taking it to someone else," explains Carterville City Clerk and organizer Khrissy Hollister. "It's regular people taking care of other people."  

Carterville resident Marsha Bundy was another in line picking up food for others, saying, "Just trying to help some friends, and people I don't know that they know that need help."

The scene in Crainville was much the same Friday morning as another giveaway was taking place. This one in the Love & Truth Church parking lot where dozens of volunteers were kept busy with a steady line of cars picking up boxes of food and produce donated by the St. Louis Food Bank.

"We partnered up with the city and with Love & Truth; the three of us are coming together to try and help Crainville as much as possible," said Baptist Church pastor Cody Knapik.

He explains that the need in the community is still great and their distribution also expands beyond the parking lot as many in line are there for their neighbors, the elderly or those who can't get out. He adds, those efforts are a blessing.

"Because there's only so much that we can do," said Knapik. "So, it's been really nice to see the community come together and express the love for their neighbors the way that they have."

While food giveaways in our region continue to help thousands in need, Macke said, don't forget your neighbor, "Remember your fellow neighbors out there, and do what you can to help one-another."

Today was the last of Carterville's scheduled giveaways. Organizers say, they are trying to find a way to provide a few more before it gets cold out. Updates will be posted on their Facebook page.

Another giveaway in Crainville is scheduled for August 28th, starting around 9:30 in the morning, and will take place in the parking lot of the Love & Truth Church.

Joe Rehana

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