Continuing to provide “a hand up” to those in need, Feed Bartow organizers are reaching out to the community to help serve more than 2,000 people Nov. 22.
“It started seven years ago at Freedom Worship Center,” said Ronnie Richardson, event founder and pastor of Freedom Worship Center. “The church wanted to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for the community, and it’s grown into now what we call Feed Bartow. ... We actually moved it to Cartersville’s first civic center five years ago.
Right now, we’re averaging over 2,000 people each year that we’re feeding.
“It’s a wonderful event,” he said, adding at least 25 area churches now are supporting this effort. “... It’s not just a meal, it’s for someone that’s looking for a family. So, it is the family of Bartow County pulling together. It’s unity in community. ... You have everyone sitting down at the table of giving of thanks together. So, those that are in need of either a home or family or a meal, that’s what this dinner is really about.”
The community gathering will be presented from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main St. Along with a complimentary meal, attendees will gain access to a variety of services and products, including hygiene items, a coat, a blanket, a Bible, a haircut, health screenings and prayer.
“[My] most favorite moment is when you see a family that’s homeless that doesn’t have a place to live, that’s able to come in and sit down and get the necessary things that they need to restart their life,” Richardson said. “The greatest story is one year, somebody came to the event to partake in the meal and everything that was offered. The next year, that person came back and volunteered in the event.
“To me, that’s the greatest testimony — is that it’s not to give a hand out, but to give a hand up. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s all of us being family in Bartow County.”
To help the event reach its full potential, Feed Bartow organizers are seeking financial contributions and donations of hygiene products, nonperishable food, coats and blankets. Supplies can be delivered to any Advance Auto Parts in Cartersville during business hours or Freedom Worship Center, 1941 Cassville Road in Cassville, Sundays at 10 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Along with placing a financial donation via Feed Bartow’s website, supporters also can send a check to Feed Bartow, P.O. Box 85, Cassville, GA 30123.
“I’ve got a personal stake in it,” said Gerald Veitch — district manager of Advanced Auto Parts — referring to the Feed Bartow event. “When I was a little boy, my family lived in poverty and had needs. This is a real opportunity for the churches in the county to come together and join together in one force and to help people that are in need. ... It’s good [to volunteer] because it reminds us that even when you’re blessed, that that blessing needs to be shared with others. There’s others out there that just don’t have the means.”