Food pantries call for basics

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The need for everyday food items is so great, the Norcross Cooperative Ministry isn't seeking donations of Thanksgiving staples such as stuffing, gravy and green beans this year.

The nonprofit is in need of peanut butter and jelly, canned fruit, cereal, canned meat, spaghetti noodles and sauce, juice and macaroni and cheese.

"We're having such a hard time keeping our regular food pantry stocked, we're not doing any extra food baskets," said Shirley Cabe, executive director for the Norcross organization. "With 1,200 families coming through every month we just can't do both."

The co-op provides food, financial aid and counseling to people and families in crisis in Norcross and to Gwinnett residents who live in Tucker and Doraville.

The Norcross co-op has received donations of boxed stuffing and turkeys that will be given out leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, but "we have so many families that just need the basics in their kitchens and pantries right now that we're focusing on the basics," Cabe said.

The Duluth co-op Hands of Christ and the North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry, which are providing families a Thanksgiving spread, are in need of gift cards clients can use to purchase turkeys or hams.

"Anything they can donate would be greatly appreciated," said Hands of Christ Executive Director Mary Roberts, "but the cards would be a true blessing."

Hands of Christ will be providing families with food for Thanksgiving as late as Wednesday. Items include dressing, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans and corn, a canned fruit and a dessert.

Roberts said she expects the co-op will serve a total of 130 families, with about 30 of those picking up meals Monday and Wednesday.

The North Gwinnett co-op, which serves residents of Buford, Sugar Hill, and Suwanee, is expected to serve almost 300 families over the next three days. The organization will be providing boxed potatoes and stuffing, canned yams, green beans and corn. Donations of $15 gift cards, preferably purchased from a Publix supermarket, are needed.

"Publix is really good to us so we try to buy ours from Publix," said Maureeen Kornowa, executive director.

The North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry accepts donations from 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Fridays at 70 Wiley Drive in Buford.

Monetary donations to the Norcross Cooperative Ministry can be made online at www.norcrossco-op.org. Donations of food, clothing and household items are accepted at the facility, 2275 Mitchell Road N.W., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

To donate to Hands of Christ, call the ministry at 770-623-9563.