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USDA Farmers to Families food box handout in Ranburne

Food boxes

A food box giveaway is carried out Tuesday morning at the Way of Life parking lot in Ranburne. The USDA partnered with the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission and GA Food to provide over 500 boxes of food to anyone that wanted it. 

RANBURNE — The unrelenting July sun beat down on the Way Of Life parking lot early Tuesday morning in Ranburne as motorists lined up for boxed food giveaway.

Denise LaFollette, media representative for the East Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission, said the food giveaway is a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families program, EARPDC and GA Foods.

The Farmers to Families program is part of the USDA COVID-19 relief fund and according to LaFollette the program has no age, residency or income restrictions.

“It is simply a need for people because we have had people who have been out of work that normally wouldn't be and so it’s helped so many people and they’ve been so incredibly grateful,” LaFollette said.

A total of 580 boxes of food containing dairy products, meats, fruits and vegetables were available on a first-come, first-served basis that volunteers whisked into trunks, back seats and truck beds.

By 10:30 a.m. the boxes were gone according to Pamela Thompson, Ranburne city clerk, who helped with the giveaway.

Roby Mobley, executive director for the Cleburne County faith-based nonprofit, Helping Every Area Resident to Succeed, HEARTS, was also helping deliver boxes of food to motorists.

“This is awesome, this is just a town coming together once again, Ranburne is good at that, this community has the biggest heart around, whenever we need something, especially at HEARTS, all I’ve got to do is call them and they’re right there for us,” said Mobley.

Rebecca Skinner, a Cleburne County resident, was all smiles after getting her box of provisions and said it will help out during “tough times.” 

“I think it's very nice that they think about us people that don't have a chance to get anything else,” Skinner said. 

Chuck Smith, Ranburne’s mayor was also methodically carrying boxes and carefully placing them in vehicles, much to the appreciation of the occupants.

“This is a great deal for the town of Ranburne, GA Foods and everybody that’s sponsoring this, we appreciate this very much,” said Smith.

Cindy Stephens, a Cleburne resident, along with her friend Vicky Welch, said the food boxes will be very helpful due to health and mobility issues.

“I think it’s great, nobody in Cleburne County should go hungry,” said Stephens.