Close to 1,300 families were approved to receive their part of this month's shipment of around 66,000 pounds of food at the National Guard armory on Friday.
This is the second month in a row that Feed the Need has distributed food in Dyer County. "Feed the Need" Food Pantry Distribution is a collaboration of the Mid-South Food Bank, Dyersburg Noon and Morning Rotary and The Salvation Army. The food is subsidized through a USDA grant the Mid-South Food Bank has received.
"Smooth as butta," said Oakes referring to a pop-culture term for everything is going nicely. "Learning from our first time ... it is 100 percent smoother. We're putting people through without waiting. We had a lot of people adhere to the A through L to come first, but we are servicing everybody. It just makes you warm and fuzzy."
The process was tightened up by a number of different ways. The first was by only allowing a certain number through at a time. This cut down on some of the confusion of dealing with a large rush all at once inside the armory.
Chief Operating Officer of the Mid-South Food Bank Estella Mayhue-Greer was at last month's distribution and was on hand to see this month's, as well.
"I thought last month was smooth, but it is so well organized and it is moving a whole lot faster," said Mayhue-Greer. "Considering that we're serving more people and it's going faster."
She also said the food will help families during this holiday season, but it would also continue on indefinitely.
"This is good for Christmas, but we understand that people are hungry year-round," said Mayhue-Greer. "They have a need year-round and as I've said before we are committed to do this every month as long as we have food."
She also said they are planning to distribute food to vouchered families in Lake County next month.
"They are going to set up the voucher system and get volunteers," said Mayhue-Greer.
Since last month's food distribution in Dyer County, the Mid-South Food Bank is also starting to receive donations from local residents.
"We've never gotten contributions from Dyer County until now," said Mayhue-Greer. "With this, they really see what we're doing."
The recipients received ham, turkey, baking products, canned fruit and beans, peanut butter, jelly, dessert kits, rolled oats, hominy, lemonade and other items.
James Kirk, from Tatumville, was one of the volunteers that came back to lend a hand again during this month's distribution. He said he is on disability from working on the railroad and was going to volunteer and apply for a voucher.
"The Lord blessed me with good health, so to speak," said Kirk. "So if I can help somebody else, I will."
Bill Cloar of the Dyersburg Noon Rotary was directing traffic in a very unique pair of fur gloves during the cool morning. He said he didn't realize what a spectacle the gloves would be, but said they got a lot of smiles and attention.
The number of volunteers was almost the same as last month's, which was around 100, but they were making due with the new system.
"The number is a lot lower than last time, but then again it's plenty for what we're doing," said Oakes. "The number is still holding strong and we just keep praying for that."
Glendora Greenway is president of the Noon Rotary and was pleased with the volunteers and the orderliness of the process.
"Today things are going a lot smoother and a lot more orderly," said Greenway. "We have different volunteers than last month and we appreciate that."
Oakes stressed the program is not only for people who are on government assistance, but anybody that is having trouble making ends meet.
"This is also for people who have been laid off, their hours reduced, their wages reduced," said Oakes. "Those hard-working people in the community qualify for this as an emergency situation. That's one of the best benefits of doing this. It helps everybody, but especially in this economic time, helping those people make the end of the month is a great thing to do and that's why we do it."
The "Feed the Need" program is expected to continue on the third Friday of every month. Each voucher is good for six months.
To donate to the Mid-South Food Bank go to www.midsouthfoodbank.org or call 901-527-0841.
Applicant screening and vouchers are available now at Matthew 25:40, The Salvation Army and the Union Mission. Any resident of Dyer County who has documentation proving that they receive any one of the following types of aid qualifies.
1. SNAP (food stamp) benefits,
2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
3. Supplemental Security Income
4. Residence in Public Housing
5. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds
Participants must show an original copy of their voucher and have some form of identification.