Never let it be said the Golden Isles doesn’t take care of its own.
Organizations across Glynn County are coming together to help their fellow man during the holiday season, among them Eat’n Together, volunteers from which spent hours Monday night putting together Thanksgiving meal kits for 300 families.
Today, the organization will load up the meals and equip volunteers to deliver them across the area to pre-selected homes and living facilities rather than serve or hand them out on-site, said the group’s founder, Alec Eaton.
Recipients are selected based on a combination of an established roster from America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, requests and referrals, he explained. Some meals also go to families or guardians of children involved in the court system.
“Thanksgiving I feel gets to be an overlooked holiday. I believe people need to take the time to pause, reflect, and be thankful for that we have,” Eaton said.
Eat’n Together has seen the need for assistance grow in recent years. Eaton said it’s becoming more and more common to hear from folks looking for help for the first time in their lives. Frequently, fingers are pointed at job loss from the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“People are still affected,” Eaton explained. ”We’re seeing more people who need support like that.”
Eat’n Together only recently started working to address that particular problem in 2020, when the highly contagious respiratory disease was discovered to be rapidly spreading throughout the county.
“Our true mission is to open a pay-what-you-can restaurant so we can give back throughout the year,” Eaton said. “This is our pivot because of COVID ourselves, so we want to get back to our mission.”
He’s not the only one seeing the trend.
Daniel Hines, pastor of City of Refuge Mission Family Worship Center, said he’s seen the need for food distributions like this increase in the Golden Isles as well, which is the reason he posed a new challenge to his flock this year.
Typically the church puts together 10 Thanksgiving meal kits from church member donations.
“I really challenged us this year to triple what we could do,” Hines said.
The church answered the call, increasing its donations and seeking more from businesses, including Winn Dixie and Satilla Grocery, to bring its total for 2021 up to 75 meals.
The reason behind the growth in looking for aid matters little, Hines added.
“I’m of the opinion that it’s a great responsibility of the church to be where we can meet that need,” Hines continued. “We have to have a footprint in the community. (Jesus) stopped teaching to feed the 5,000, so we have to do the same.”
Anyone can show up at the church at 1005 Albemarle St. in Brunswick after noon today to receive one of the 75 meals.
For more information, contact Hines at 912-506-1173.
Others are offering assistance too. A local talk radio station teamed up with other local businesses for Turkey in Your Trunk, a drive-through Thanksgiving meal distribution event planned at Glynn Place Mall at 11 a.m. today.
“We want to encourage everyone to give thanks to their families, their loved ones and help that are struggling, that want to work and want to give back on track. We can make this community a more loving one that way,” Eaton said
Some regular events are returning as well.
On Thanksgiving Day, Kingdom Builder Church will host its annual Feed My Sheep dinner from 9 a.m. to noon in Burroughs-Molette Elementary School.
The Manna House on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will also continue its traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
While it saw an uptick in the number of people looking for nutritional assistance during the height of the pandemic in 2020, things have since leveled out, said the leader of Manna House, the Rev. Jim Crandall.
“When we first started back in March of 2020, when COVID hit, we were providing meals for The Well, Gray’s House and the Salvation Army. They eventually got their own stuff going and settled back down into our routine,” Crandall said.