The New Frontier of Bartow County estimated it served 1,500 people on Saturday at the 13th annual Feed the Community Dinner. Held at the Cartersville Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the event offered a Thanksgiving-style dinner, a haircut, clothing and health screenings at no cost to attendees.
Organizers enlisted the assistance of the Cartersville Medical Center to provide blood pressure screenings, and the City-Wide Project, of Atlanta, to administer HIV testing. The Vogue Beauty School had 10 students and alumni on hand to give haircuts.
The New Frontier of Bartow County is a non-profit organization founded locally in 1962. Tony Suber, president of the organization, said, “Our mission is to assist the community with basic needs, support community employment opportunities and work to ensure we have great political representation.” New Frontier also awards scholarships to local high school students for academic and athletic achievements.
In recent years, the event served nearly 2,500 people. Suber said, “We see the lower numbers as a good sign that more people are back to work. However, this year there is an increase in the number of children attending; therefore, we believe the need still remains great among those who do need assistance.”
William Solomon, a member of the New Frontier’s board of directors, trained more than 200 volunteers that helped prepare and accomplish the day’s activities. The Cartersville Cyclones, a travel baseball team for 8-year-olds, brought some of their team to volunteer. Coach Johnny Brasfield said, “Last year our team donated to the Adairsville tornado victims and this year we chose to volunteer here. We really want to teach our kids the importance of giving back to the community.”
After eating dinner, Taurean Pritchett stood in line to get some warmer clothes. “Colder weather is here so I need some heavier things to wear. This is a good thing they are doing. There’s a pretty good turn out and it helps a lot of people,” Pritchett said.
Attendees had the opportunity to select children’s books, toys, blankets and clothing of all types, including clothing appropriate for job interviews.
The dinner requires months of preparation and fundraising to ensure its success.
“We begin our planning every year for this event in late July after we conclude our scholarship awards ceremony for students in June,” Suber said. “The next few months are used to bring together the many details required to successfully undertake an event of this size. In October and reaching into early November we raise funds and accept donations of clothes, books and toys. Afterward, we meet in December to debrief. We evaluate the event and look for strategic ways … to improve the following year.
“The New Frontiers believe it is important to address the entire person. You can come get a nice meal, pick out some clothes or blankets, have a health screening and finish up with a hair cut. Finally, Bartow Transit will give you a ride home.”