Community, newspaper thanked for help with emergency need at Axis 1 food bank

Dear Editor,

Let this letter serve as a heartfelt thank you to so many wonderful people of Barnwell County. I have worked at Axis I as the Executive Director for over 42 years. Axis I has been a part of the Barnwell County Helpline since the 1980s. I have seen and felt the love and kindness that this community has for each other when someone is in need. This past week has once again shown me the kindness and loving nature of so many.

A few weeks ago, I just happened to hear one of the staff tell a young working mother that we may not have food at this time to give her family. My heart broke when I heard the mother say, “Can you just give me something for my children to eat?” That is when I called Laura McKenzie at the newspaper and told her the story. I told her I was begging for her to do something but did not know what I needed her to do. I just knew I needed her help. Thank God Laura knew just what to do, and she did.

The outpouring of love and kindness started to flow within one hour after I talked to the newspaper staff. One of our staff members said Jonathan Vickery had placed the information on Facebook. You see, I have no clue about all the new technology, but I am okay with not knowing. I am extremely grateful that there are so many other fine people that use these methods and skills.

As of this date, by using the newspaper and all other methods, the Barnwell County Helpline has received cash donations of over $2,000. The schools have taken the need and turned it into a fun way for students to gather canned goods at school and ball games. There have been over 25 individual families and organizations that have taken the time to bring in food. Churches are taking the initiative to find innovative ways of gathering food to give to us. Generations Unlimited and the YMCA are also finding ways to encourage their clients to get involved through friendly competition and rewards. As you can see, this community really does come together when they understand the need.

Last year in August, we fed 377 families. This August we fed 400. Last August the number of people was 1,148 and this August it was 1,395. Last August the number of people 18 and under was 420. This August it was 476. People over 60 last August was 126. This August was 183. Last year’s total meal count was 17,545. This year’s total meals are 20,925. As you can see, it has increased in each category. This has been the case each month in 2016. That is why it has been so hard to keep food on hand. Wal-Mart gives us food every day through a Golden Harvest Food Bank program and it goes out as fast as it goes in. Without Wal-Mart and Golden Harvest’s support I truly don’t know what we would do.

There are so many wonderful people in this world and I thank that so many of them live in Barnwell County. There is no way I can put into words what I feel in my heart for all the wonderful support that has been given. I thank God for each and every one that has helped us in their own way. Nothing is too much or too little to do when you give from your heart.

Thank you is not enough to say, BUT I do say THANK YOU!

Sincerely,

Cheryl Azouri Long,

Executive Director,

Axis I Center of Barnwell