For the sixth year in a row, the Auxiliary of East Georgia Regional Medical Center collected and presented bags of Thanksgiving food to Christian Social Ministry for distribution to families in need.
With donations from their own Auxiliary members and the help of hospital employees and other individuals, the Auxiliary collected 122 bags of food.
“The hospital is gracious to provide gift cards to purchase meat for the meal,” said Wanda Sellers, current Auxiliary president. “The hospital employees have been wonderful. This is the most bags we’ve ever provided.”
Auxiliarians provide a paper bag with a list of needed food items. Auxiliary volunteers and hospital employees take the bag, purchase the necessary food items and return the filled bag to the hospital for storage until the deadline.
Each bag contains two cans of vegetables; gravy, stuffing, mashed potato, corn muffin and cake mixes; two boxes of Jello; a can of cranberry sauce; cake frosting; a bag of candy and a grocery store gift card for meat purchase.
“It started as an Auxiliary project years back,” Sellers said, “but employees asked to help, so it’s slowly grown to a group effort.”
Sellers said she was pleasantly surprised at how many bags came in.
“I felt like the bags were multiplying. I went out the door and by the time I came back in a few minutes, eight more bags had come in.”
Though the Thanksgiving food bag project is one of the volunteers’ larger service projects, the group of men and women raise money throughout the year with jewelry sales and other opportunities, and the money raised supports three scholarships to the Georgia Southern University nursing program and four scholarships to health programs at Ogeechee Technical College. Additionally, the group makes contributions to non-profit charities with this year’s donation topping out at $26,000.
Sellers, a volunteer since 2005, said that there are currently 57 volunteers on role and teen volunteers from colleges give of their time during the summer.
John Long, director of Christian Ministries, arrived early Monday morning with a trailer to collect the food bags for distribution that afternoon. Every Monday afternoon, from 1 to 5 p.m., clients in need can receive bags of food at the 122 East Parrish Street location, but the distribution this week was extra-special with the hospital donations.
“Clients received a complete Thanksgiving dinner, another bag of food, and onions this week,” Long said. “One mom walked (to the Christian Social Ministry’s location) with a baby in a stroller and she was thrilled that she was going to be able to have Thanksgiving at her home, because she has no means of transportation to go anywhere else.”
Long said someone helped her get the three bags of food home with her that afternoon.
Long has served as director since 2009 and loves the opportunity to help those in need.
“We share Christ with everyone that comes in. That’s why we’re doing this, so that we can share the gospel.”
Christian Social Ministry also provides utility assistance on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. A second location in the College Plaza Shopping Center opened during the summer as a thrift store location, and a Christmas store, open on Saturdays through November and Thursday through Saturday in December, is located at 31 North Zetterower.
Erin Spillman, director of Marketing at East Georgia Regional, said in an email to employees and Auxiliary members, “Kudos to everyone for helping make this the largest donation we have given over the six years of supporting this project. We know that our hospital helped to provide food to at least 122 families in need, and we should be proud of being good community stewards.”