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Gospel concert to benefit food pantry


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor   

  Helping in His Name Food Pantry is trying something new to put food on the table of Henry County’s Hungry—a concert featuring Drew Parker, a young, professional gospel and country singer, who will perform on Saturday, February 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center in McDonough, with proceeds to benefit the food pantry.

Volunteers at Helping in His Name Food Pantry sort food for distribution to needy families in Henry County.       Special photo

  The concert is being sponsored by the Helping in His Name Board of Directors. Board member Sandy Craig came up with the idea of a concert as a fundraiser.

  She said she saw Parker perform in Newton County at a Cattlemen’s event and was impressed with the young man and his vocal talent. She said it will be a great show for a great cause.

  Parker, from Covington, is a Southern Gospel and country music singer, and at age 18, already has several major gospel awards under his belt.

  According to Reverbnation, in 2008, Parker was named Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year for the Georgia Country and Gospel Music Association. That year, he also won Album of the Year for his album One Cry Away.

  Nola Love, President of Helping in His Name Food Pantry, said this is the biggest fundraiser the food pantry has had and she hopes to have 500 people in attendance.

  “I’m grateful to the Board for their support and for this fundraiser, which we hope will raise a lot of money for the food pantry,” she said.

  Helping in His Name has had a difficult year but Love said her motto for 2013 is “It’s going to be a terrific year.”

  She said although the year was difficult because of fewer donations coupled with a transition at the Atlanta Food Bank, where the pantry wasn’t able to purchase food for 16 cents a pound for several months. But she said the community rallied and between the school food drives and companies and private donors stepping up, the holidays went smoothly.

  “People are more aware of us during the holidays and what we have should take us through February, but we struggle through the spring and then again at the end of the summer, so this concert is a way for us to keep the momentum going.”

  Love said she was heartbroken earlier this season when she had to dismiss several families from the rolls due to lack of food and funds. But she has been encouraged recently by several corporate donations and grants, including generous donations from EcoLab and an anonymous donor as well as a grant from Central Georgia EMC. McDonough Christian church recently made an appeal to its congregation and the result was $1,700 in donations to the pantry.

  However, Love said the need for food is always there and in recent months has increased. In addition to helping more than 1,100 families every month, the food pantry also provides emergency assistance to clients who are hungry, last month providing 987 emergency food baskets.

  In addition to money and food, the food pantry is always looking for volunteers, who are needed to sort food, pack groceries and load cars. The schedule for volunteers is Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Individuals wishing to volunteer are welcome to show up on any of the days or evenings listed, and groups interested in volunteering should call and schedule a day and time.

  The Performing Arts center is located on the campus of Henry County High School and the cost of admission is donations taken at the door.

  For more information on donating or volunteering, visit or call 678-565-6135. Helping in His Name Food Pantry is located at 85 Bellamy Place, Stockbridge, GA 30281.



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