Continuing to provide a "home for a day" for those in need, Feed Bartow organizers are seeking support from the community to serve about 1,750 people Nov. 21.
"This is our ninth year,” said Ronnie Richardson, event founder and pastor of Freedom Worship Center. “It started at … Freedom Worship Center with a church with a heart for the community to help our community with not just a Thanksgiving dinner but a home for a day. That's really the premise behind Feed Bartow. It's more about bringing unity [in the] community. Yes, it does provide a free Thanksgiving dinner, a free haircut, coats and blankets, health screenings, health and beauty aids.
"… But the true heart of the event is about those that need a family for a day. So it's not just food and a meal, but it's providing a family in our community. … It's about bringing everybody to the table of giving of thanks. [It is] one day in each year to sit across from each other and give thanks for each other; give thanks for our community; give thanks for what's been blessed in our lives."
Ongoing from 2 to 6 p.m., the community gathering will be presented at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main St.
"We served approximately 250 people the first year with the same premise," Richardson said. "We provide free transportation, coats and blankets — all of the same things we just discussed. But the second year, we turned around and fed approximately 450 people. So it was working wonderfully — the whole church working together [with] multiple ministries in our area. So it grew beyond the church of Freedom Worship Center, and we moved it to Cartersville's first civic center five years ago. This year, we anticipate feeding … anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people."
Prior to the event, Feed Bartow organizers are seeking financial contributions and donations of personal care items, coats and blankets. Supplies can be delivered to any Advance Auto Parts in Adairsville and Cartersville during business hours.
"[I wanted] to be a help to the community," said Freedom Worship Center Assistant Pastor Jon Goltz about why he wanted to take part in the community outreach event about seven years ago. "I feel that that's our responsibility as [far as] carrying out the Gospel, is to reach out to those in need. … [Some of the memorable moments include] being able to see children receive coats that wouldn't otherwise have one.
"Very specifically, there's been quite a few moments over the past few years of just families coming in receiving a haircut. For instance, there's is one guy. … He came in and got a haircut and probably hadn't had a haircut in at least a year or two. He was so excited about getting a haircut. You see things take place, I guess, that we all take for granted."
To view a complete list of needed items, place a financial donation or sign up for volunteer opportunities, visit www.feedbartow.com. Those interested in volunteering need to register by Friday.