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King George community group wants to offer a monthly soup kitchen and grocery giveaway for those in need
The group would have about 50 volunteers in place to cook and set up the center, greet and serve those attending and clean up afterward. Both Smith and Brooks said they'd be interested in helping.
Jones said the hot meal and groceries would be available to any citizens in need, and she expects 100 to 200 families at the December meal. She told the board there's no screening process, and that "anybody who's hungry and wants a meal" is welcome.
David Coman, director of King George's Department of Social Services, said he hadn't heard about Love Thy Neighbor, "but would support it fully."
He operates a food pantry out of the Social Services office, but doesn't receive any state or federal funding for it.
Churches and businesses, school groups and Boy Scouts collect items for the pantry, which is supplemented by donations from businesses and residents "who are concerned that people may be going without," Coman said.
Shelves are getting bare, and pantries throughout the Fredericksburg area are reporting the same. That's on the eve of the holidays, when there are typically higher demands.
"My food bank is almost depleted," Coman said. "We are seeing four to six families a day now asking for food, up over last year's requests."
Jones said that her group would like to expand its offerings after it gets the soup kitchen up and running. For instance, she suggested offering more help to seniors and providing the needy with firewood.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Love Thy Neighbor would like to provide families the following items each month:
Oatmeal and cereal, Pop-Tarts, peanut butter and jelly, soup, pasta and sauce, macaroni and cheese, canned tuna, chicken and salmon, Tuna and Chicken Helper, canned vegetables and fruit, toilet paper and diapers, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and brushes, laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaning products.
More information is available by contacting Karen Jones at 540/645-7331 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.