‘Farms to Families’ project gives out produce in Vincent

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

The strength of a small-town community working together for the common good of all people was on display Thursday, June 4 at Coosa Valley Baptist Church in Vincent.

Tyrone Smith and Dana Peterson load fresh fruit & vegetables at Farm to Families Drive-Thru in Vincent. (Contributed)

“This was one of our most organized events thanks to Bridgette (Jordan-Smith). She really did all the coordination once the application was turned in and accepted,” said Cindy Pope with Shelby Emergency Assistance, a non-profit charitable organization affiliated with the United Way of Alabama.

“We are grateful for the Community Foodbank of Central Alabama and the folks at Shelby Emergency Assistance for making this ‘Farms to Families Drive-Thru Project’ possible. This is the first of two events, the next one scheduled for July,” said Jordan-Smith, secretary for the Coosa Valley Baptist Church and a member of the Vincent City Council.

The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama serves 12 counties including Shelby County, working side by side with the United Way of Central Alabama and the Greater Birmingham Foundation, focusing on feeding neighbors in need of emergency food.

One of the missions of the organization is to identify gaps of vulnerable populations like seniors and provide them with nourishing fresh fruits and vegetables.

“This has been a real team effort with major kudos going to church members and community volunteers. The event is successful because it extends well beyond our church,” Jordan-Smith said. “A big thank you goes to Coach Weatherford at VMHS for accompanying members of the football team and Major Stanley Murrell for accompanying students of the JROTC Program; their assistance in unloading the more than 400 boxes of produce from the food pantry delivery truck was invaluable.”

Drive-thru pickup of fresh produce could not get easier. On a hot and humid day, families could just drive into the parking lot, pull around the church and stop at an orange cone that marked the spot.

Once they popped their trunk, volunteers wearing gloves and masks simply loaded their 50 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables and a loaf of fresh bread into their trunk, and off they went.

With the COVID-19 pandemic creating vulnerability for the senior population and with so many people out of work, providing nourishing free food was the number-one priority of the project, however volunteers did take a moment to talk to those picking up food, reminding them of the census and providing a flyer with the number to call.

“Feeding our vulnerable population nourishing food is top priority, but the public servant in me can’t help take advantage of an opportunity to create awareness of the importance of the census and its impact to our community,” Jordan-Smith said. “It all really goes hand in hand.”

The next drive-thru produce giveaway event is scheduled for July 9 at the same location, Coosa Valley Baptist Church, Vincent.