Food donations can be made at several local businesses such as Casey’s, Kroger and the Dollar General Market, where there are large barrels in the front marked for donations. The food drive started July 1 and will run until the end of the month.
The organization has been providing assistance to the Cedartown community for the last 52 years. Entirely financed by local industries, businesses and individuals, the fund runs a community clothing bank and food bank as well as many other services to the needy in Cedartown.
“We’re trying to put a dent in the needs of the people,” said John Vines, assistant administrator of the fund.
Cedartown native Vines, who works part time at the fund is also a pastor at the Truth and Life Ministries and is also an undertaker, has been working with the fund since March this year. Vines wife, Lisa, heads the fund’s Christmas toy drive along with help from the Hon Company.
According to Gail Maddox, also a Cedartown native and the administrator of the organization, the donations are given out to members of the community who go to the office on Ware Street.
Maddox said that they try to give one or two of each item to everyone that comes in and that more food is given to larger families.
Maddox and Vines said that they have seen a growing need in the community due to the economy.
“In the past two months I have seen a big change around here,” Vines said. “With the companies around here shutting down, people don’t have jobs.”
Maddox also commented on a recent food stamp delay, where she said that the fund had a large amount of people lined up to receive food. Vines said that they had calls from some people who had not eaten in days.
Vines also said that he believes that people are more willing to donate because of the current economic crisis.
“We have a lot of good people here in Cedartown,” Vines said.
Along with the food and clothing banks, the fund also provides other kinds of assistance such as a toy drive near Christmas and the Community Free Lunch Program. Vines also said that they have some necessities on hand for families whose houses have burned down.
Vines and Maddox agree that their most influential program is their prescription program. The fund can help pay for doctor-prescribed medications for those who need help. Vines stated that though he wishes he could help everybody with all their prescriptions, he asks that people only request assistance one time and only if they are in immediate need of the medications.
“We just paid $249 for one person to get the medications they need,” said Maddox.
Maddox said that they have had many life or death situations where they had to get insulin or other life-saving medications for people who were unable to afford them.
To qualify for any of the services offered by the organization, people only need to be able to show that they live in Cedartown. Vines said that they try to help everyone, but they would like to focus on helping children and the elderly.
The fund is led by a board of directors who are in charge of the budget and programs that are available. The money spent by the fund comes from local industries and businesses who donate both goods and money to the organization. Maddox mentioned that their biggest contributors are HON, GEO Specialty Chemical, Kimoto Tech and Polk County Public Service. Other contributors are listed on their website; see the end of the article for the web address.
“I just want to give a great big thank you to everyone,” said Maddox. “This has been a very bad year for Cedartown, in my opinion, and our community has really done well by the United Fund.”
For more information about the Cedartown United Fund, call the office at 770-748-1215 or visit their website at www.cedartownunitedfund.org.