Hope House holiday giving ‘best it’s ever been’ says Jones



Food workers Anne Barnes (left) and Bethany Taylor survey the food bank pantry with Hope House director Bud Jones.‘Giving is the best this year it’s ever been,’ Jones said,‘and the economy is at its worst.’

Food workers Anne Barnes (left) and Bethany Taylor survey the food bank pantry with Hope House director Bud Jones.‘Giving is the best this year it’s ever been,’ Jones said,‘and the economy is at its worst.’

Holiday good news comes in three happy bundles this season, according to Hope House director Bud Jones. Bundle one

The partnership between Hope House and three county churches to serve free Thanksgiving meals to seniors and other citizens needing a hot meal produced record results. First Baptist Church of Oneonta and Bible Way and Grace Baptist Church of Snead together served a total of 850 full dinners to hungry residents in their areas, delivering more than 600 to homes.

Hope House provided the food and workers at the three churches provided the cooking, serving, and delivery to those in their areas. With 20 or more workers at each church, the effort was virtually complete including delivery by 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Jones said. The 850 meals were provided at a total cost of $650, less than 80 cents a meal, he said, thanks to discounted food provided through Hope House donors and the free labor and delivery provided by the churches.

“I want everyone to know what these churches accomplished this year,” Jones said. “Maybe next year even more will want to participate.”

Don’t take it lightly. This was a major meal: turkey, green beans, candied yams, a dinner roll, and, thanks to Walmart’s donation of 53 pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving eve, a slice of pumpkin pie to top it off. Bundle two

Hope House and First Baptist Church of Oneonta are brewing up a Christmas project for the elderly, disabled, and families unable to provide their own food, featuring 50 large hams bought and donated by Hometown Bank. The church will cook the hams and parcel them out into servings depending on the number of individuals included in each request. The elderly, disabled, and families who want to be included should call the Hope House at 625-4673 to register their request. Requests will be routed through local ministers to establish need. Oneonta First Baptist will again provide delivery in the Oneonta area with Bible Way and Grace Baptist Church providing delivery in Snead. Bundle three

For the first time in several years, the Hope House food bank is not experiencing a seasonal crisis in food supplies this year, though food banks around the country, including the United Way facility in Birmingham, are running far short of seasonal food supplies to support a populace increasingly dependent on assistance because of the stillstruggling economy.

“We have ample food to meet the demand in the county,” Jones said. “We’ve had more food contributions than ever before – from schools, churches, individuals, clubs, civic groups and so on. The Blount County DA’s office in particular has really helped by encouraging food drives and arranging periodic pickup points for us to add to our food supplies. We’ve got elected officials who go out of their way to make sure we have things we need. Everybody has just been unbelievable in their support. The giving is the best it’s ever been in a time when the economy is the worst it’s ever been.

Jones takes a complete civics lesson away from his work with the three bundles this year. “It’s almost miraculous what we can accomplish when we all work together,” he said. “It’s truly a blessing.”