Feeding the hungry during holidays

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SPANISH FORT – As many local shoppers line up in stores to stock up on turkey and fixings, hundreds of Baldwin County residents would have little to put on holiday tables without the help of volunteers.

On the morning of the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, volunteers at Prodisee Pantry in Spanish began stacking shopping carts with groceries, canned goods, loaves of bread, produce and other items as well as hundreds of holiday turkeys to make the season brighter for their fellow residents. Outside, other volunteers and a Baldwin County sheriff’s deputy directed traffic as people seeking assistance lined up outside the building on US 31.

Deann Servos, executive director of Prodisee Pantry, said that while the economy has improved in Baldwin County, many working residents still have a hard time making ends meet.

“Things are still tough for a lot of people,” she said. “It’s an invisible issue. It’s hard when you’re working a minimum-wage job. We get a lot of hard-working people who just don’t earn enough to get by when an apartment is at least $800 a month and their salaries just can’t keep up.”

While Prodisee Pantry distributes food throughout the year, the holidays bring an extra demand.

Servos said that by the end of the day, more than 1,500 families would have been helped during November. Last year, the non-profit community ministry served 13,920 Baldwin families and the demand has not dropped this year, Servos said.

While many families served are working people who need extra help getting groceries, the group does have homeless families and individuals also seeking assistance.

In the warehouse, volunteer Mary Glover helped pack shopping carts with items for Thanksgiving two days away.

She said she learned about the food-distribution program from fellow members of the local LSU Alumni Association, who were already helping with the program. On this Tuesday, many purple and gold shirts and jackets were visible among those in the warehouse.

“I was looking for a place to volunteer and found this,” she said. “It’s a great way to give back to the community.”

Anyone seeking assistance or wanting to volunteer can contact Prodisee Pantry at prodiseepantry.org or by calling 251-626-1720.