Marianne Langan, owner of Lee Branch’s Gotcha Covered, and designer Ann Odom recently made a visit to Oak Mountain Mission Ministries on Highway 31 in Pelham. They were dropping off toiletry items at the non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, furniture and financial assistance to residents in need in Jefferson and Shelby Counties.
“We were given a quick tour of the facility,” says Langan. “The assistant director, Diane Cesario, shared with us how low their food pantry supply is now. They’ve been very affected by the current economy. Ann and I felt led to ask fellow business owners around us in the Lee Branch area to be part of a food drive to help this ministry.”
Langan and Odom contacted other businesses and organized a food drive to be held through the end of the year. Several businesses agreed to be drop-off sites for the items in need. Langan will transport the donations to the Oak Mountain Mission each week or as often as needed. An envelope of valuable coupons to several businesses will be given as a “thank-you” to people that donate to the food drive.
Donations may be dropped off at these businesses- at Lee Branch: Gotcha Covered Blinds, English Ivy, Sport Clips, Cartridge World, and Pak Mail. Off Cahaba Valley Road in Cadence Place at Renaissance Consignment Boutique and at Barstools, Etc./Wee-Peat Boutique at 5479 Highway 280.
Items requested: peanut butter, cereals (boxed “cold” such as corn flakes or “hot” such as oatmeal), dried beans, canned meats, canned vegetables, canned or packaged soup, paper products (toilet tissue, paper towels), rice, pasta, prepackaged meals (hamburger helper, mac and cheese), cornmeal or corn muffin mixes, coffee, snack foods (crackers and granola bars), diapers, zip-lock bags.
Oak Mountain Mission Ministries assistant director, Diane Cesario, confirms the need for a food drive to help the mission. “We accept referrals from several agencies and local faith-support churches,” explains Cesario. “After a client is qualified for our program, they receive one bag of groceries every 30 days up to one year’s time. We previously were able to give two bags of groceries, but our supply is so low, we’re no longer able to do that.”
The bag of groceries contains a variety of nutritiously balanced food selected by the ministry. Items include canned meats, canned vegetables and fruits, peanut butter, chips donated by Golden Flake, and other pantry essentials.
The ministry has seen a dramatic increase in those coming to the mission for assistance. In the months of January through August 2010, Oak Mountain Mission Ministries has helped 764 more clients versus that same time a year earlier. Families that receive food have increased by 554. “Clients come to us that have lost jobs, depleted their savings, that are living in their cars. Many are living in hotels that rent by the week or month,” says Cesario. “The needs, the overwhelming loss people face, that is here in Jefferson and Shelby Counties.”