ARTICLE UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF FOOD PANTRY
Letter to the Editor, Clay County Progress, August 25, 2022
I am so glad I took the time to read Jerry Sullivan’s wonderfully informative article on the Hinton Center with its Food Pantry beginning to fast-forward then galloping, showing the remarkable growth over the years since 2001. I am familiar with both the Hinton Center, as a volunteer since 2014, and attendee to many workshop events. During a hard time in 2009, I had and was thankfully grateful for the weekly help from food pantry. I saw some of the prechoice roots begin, even then and applaud this heartily.
What I hadn’t realized was the extent of its growth and the establishment of so many administrative requirements and especially the wide variety and assistance which so many people, businesses and churches in our community provide. However, I was not surprised
at the scope of this help as I’ve never met so many wonderful, caring and hard-working folks — and I’ve lived in many places.
I have to include a short tale. Disclosure, I get wordy, that was particularly memorable. During the awful fall of 2016 we had a huge wildfire in rough, mountainous terrain east of Hayesville. It got so bad that the notable firefighting “Hot Shots” troop was called in to assist. The Hinton Center provided room and board when their help and duration of
their stay became obvious.
The community, for a day or so, was asked to donate treats and water to leave at Oak Forest Community Church. I took some homemade cookies there the following day, seeing not a whole lot left at that point. When I drove by on day three, I saw a veritable mountain of donations, then heard a radio station, on behalf of Hinton, practically begging people to slow down in taking supplies right to Hinton. The administration building at Hinton became filled too and almost over capacity.
This part is the backstory. The Hayesville school students had been asked to make thankyou
cards. I wasn’t aware of this request until my second day working in the kitchen which made
breakfast, put together lunches and then produced a hot food buffet for dining at day’s end. In addition, we also set tables with the basic items, salt and pepper and so on.
Almost overnight, every single table had a hand-made thank you card, all different and they changed every single day. There were colorful drawings, verbiage almost letter-length. It was obvious these were made with care and love. The daily sight moved me and I still have the scene in my mind’s eye and heart.
As Sullivan showed so well, it is the day-today, month-after-month, then years of work done by the food pantry that is often hard, but needs are always met. Big challenges, such as safety and health concerns aptly addressed during the pandemic were uniquely solved. I had not realized the detail and solutions that made this possible nor the contributions of senior center, which by the way, holds classes and events open to the public. One needn’t be old,
So thank you for your well-written and thorough tribute in last week’s Clay County Progress.
I enjoyed every word.