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A helping hand

800 Bulloch households receive free food from US Dept. of Agriculture

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Posted: May 21, 2009 8:54 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2009 8:52 p.m.
A helping hand

Dorrine Armstrong pushes her cart with eight bags of groceries she received for free Thursday at the Statesboro Outreach Center. Eight hundred Bulloch County households received free food from the US Dept. of Agriculture.


    Dorrine Armstrong sat outside the Statesboro Outreach Center on a rainy Thursday morning feeling grateful.
    Armstrong had just received eight bags of groceries as part of a free distribution of food from the US Dept. of Agriculture administered through the Outreach Center on Denmark St.
    “(Getting the groceries) makes a difference in my life at this time,” Armstrong said. “These are tough times. I’m struggling. Everybody’s struggling. I’m very grateful.”
    Mary Phillips, director of Concerted Services at the Outreach Center, said Armstrong’s household was one of about 800 in Bulloch County to receive free groceries Thursday.
    “There’s no question we’ve seen a rise in demand these past few months,” Phillips said. “Unemployment is a huge problem. A lot of folks have lost their jobs or they can’t find work. I’m sure it helps.”
    Phillips said the USDA usually distributes food to the Bulloch social service agency twice per year. She said the next distribution will be sometime in September. Also, Phillips said the amount of food the USDA delivered for distribution was quite a bit more than usual.
    “We normally receive about 12 tons of food to give away,” Phillips said. “But we have 19 tons to hand out today. We are able to help many more people.”
    Phillips said the USDA did not say why so much more food was made available.
    Lines started forming outside the center early Thursday morning. The doors opened promptly at 8:30 a.m. and people were first required to show proof of county residency and also verify their level of household income. Residents were then given a number indicating the number of bags of groceries they would receive.
    All groceries given out were non-perishable. Some of the items included peanut butter, canned fruits, meats and vegetables, rice and cereal.
    Bobbie Campbell came to the Outreach Center with her 8-year-old son Devin, who is battling a mild form of cancer.
    “(The free food) is such a good thing particularly at this time,” Campbell said. “It eases our burden just a little bit.”

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