STOCKBRIDGE — As Nola Love makes her way through the small warehouse in northern Henry County, she can point out bare spots on shelves she can fill only temporarily.
“The need is still here,” said Love, president of Helping in His Name Ministries Inc., Food Pantry.
The non-profit, which serves hundreds of local families each month, is experiencing a donation fatigue typical of the summer months and anticipates that the need will only grow.
“In August, we are going to get more and more calls,” said Love.
Over the next two months, most Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) clients will start receiving their monthly food stamp issuance on a later date in the month. The move is meant to spread out the dates on which SNAP clients will shop — over a 19-day period rather than the current 10-day period — which gives grocers and retailers more time to restock their shelves.
That will also mean that SNAP clients will have “the best availability of food products,” according to Lucy Smith, Food and Nutrition Unit Manager with the Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Family and Children Services.
But to Love, it also means that, until some adjust to the change, that families will likely need the food pantry’s services.
Love said the food pantry experiences a wealth of food and monetary donations in late fall, and during the holiday season.
“In November, we have a lot of people that do food drives,” Love said. “But by the time spring hits, we don’t have that extra support to put food on our shelves.”
The non-profit executive said that, in the past three weeks, the pantry’s food budget has grown to $8,000, even with paying the discounted 16 cents per pound of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Love said the pantry has averaged about 1,000 families per month in the past, but the number has increased this year. She said the pantry served 1,143 families in January, and 1,108 families in June.
“It looks like we’re going to be averaging 1,100 a month, instead of 1,000 a month,” she said. “So, the need is still here.”
Love said the pantry is in need of soap, toothpaste, and shampoo donations for families. She said it could also use more volunteers, especially on Mondays and Wednesday.
The 74-year-old issued a request community members as she prepares to celebrate her birthday on July 16. Love said she hopes area residents will help her celebrate her birthday by making a check payable to Helping in His Name Ministries.
“This could be the biggest birthday party I’ve ever experienced, if each of you would choose to join me,” said Love, adding she received her first birthday card on Friday, July 6, with a $50 donation to Helping in His Name Ministries.
Love also pointed to Samaritans Together of Henry County. She is president of the non-profit, which is housed at the food pantry location.
Since 1992, the organization has provided needy families with financial assistance on utility bills and rent and mortgage payments. Year-to-date, she added, the group has assisted 61 families with financial aid, but is only able to provide help to 10 families at this time.
“More and more people are getting evicted these days,” Love said. “These families would be homeless or living without electricity, water or gas service without our assistance.”
To learn more about Helping in His Name Ministries, visit www.helpinginhisname.org. For more about Samaritans Together, visit www.samaritanstogetherofhenrycounty.org.