THOMASVILLE — As vehicles lined up throughout Saturday morning, the lines moved seamlessly as volunteers carried armfuls of Thanksgiving food to waiting drivers.

The Second Harvest of South Georgia held its first Thanksgiving for Thousands in Thomasville, an event it has held for several years elsewhere.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Frank Richards, Second Harvest of South Georgia CEO. 

Second Harvest, with help from staff and volunteers, prepared more than 1,000 boxes for families, filled with items such as peanut butter, dehydrated milk, canned vegetables, canned fruit and soup.

“It is a really good variety of items for their pantry to be able to stock it up,” Richards said. “There is enough food for a family for a week in those boxes.”

Volunteers and staff also carried dried beans, rice and USDA pork products to waiting vehicles. 

“We’ve really been able to help families fill up freezers this year to give them food to last them several weeks,” Richards said.

While Second Harvest brought in more than 40 of its staff from its Tifton, Valdosta and Thomasville, there also were plenty of volunteers.

“Our partners at Hands On Thomas County do a fantastic job helping us recruit volunteers, plus we have people who volunteer at our facility,” Richards said. 

Second Harvest staff helped coordinate the transportation and trucking fleet needed to bring in the food. Not only does Thanksgiving for Thousands help Second Harvest fulfill its mission, it also serves as practice when a disaster strikes and Second Harvest is called upon to distribute food, water and ice.

But the main mission Saturday was to make sure families had food for the upcoming holiday. 

"Food insecurity in south Georgia is very high as it is. One in five adults deals with this on an everyday basis,” Richards said. “Especially around Thanksgiving, people are much more aware of what is going on. It’s a time of life when all of us are very thankful for our family and our friends and the blessings we’ve had in our individual families. So people really want to give back. 

“But we’re very fortunate in that this community gives back every day to our organization. Days like this really let you see folks come out and put their hands on things and help families.”

Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.

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