The city of Valdosta, ranked #9 on poorest cities in the United States according to reporting of USAToday in 2018, falls in the top 10% for food insecurity in the the country. The COVID-19 pandemic further multiplied the food insecurity of the Valdosta/Lowndes County area, particularly for parents without work and children unable to receive meals through the school systems. Beginning March 16 and continuing through August 26, Living Bridges Ministry responded to this need by serving sack lunches along with breakfasts to the community. While serving sack lunches, we averaged more than 500 people each meal, and more than 700 people served each time over the final two months. Since each sack contained a lunch, a breakfast, and a snack, we have sent over 70,000 meals out into the community!
As area schools have resumed, the program has transitioned to serving bags of groceries to registered families who are in need. Those interested in registering for the grocery program may call/email for more information or complete the necessary forms at the Living Bridges Ministry Community Center during operating hours.
The bags of groceries are given out in the front yard of our Center located at 111 E Adair Street on Wednesdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm. Families are able to receive two bags of groceries, and then may elect to take one of our educational Zoom classes, volunteer at our Center, or pay for an additional two bags.
For those interested in providing support for this program, we do accept food donations for the grocery sacks or people may donate monetarily to specifically provide food. Donations can be brought to our Community Center Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 9am to 3pm. Thus far, we have already served the people of Valdosta with more than 29,100 sack lunches plus an additional more than 1,400 grocery bags for families.
We are amazed at how God continues to provide, but we also know we could never have considered serving all those families without strong community support! We immensely appreciate the several businesses and groups who have supported us over the last few months in this endeavor to keep families from going hungry during this pandemic! We are so thankful for your support! Please consider how you can join in contributing to the effort by donating to help feed these families. We appreciate all the prayers, donations and support of volunteers and donors!