ATLANTA -- "We are here at Collins Memorial United Methodist Church in the food pantry." Cindy Corona gestures around her, to a room filled with tables overflowing with food. Behind her, a line of shoppers makes their way through the room, choosing their groceries. That line snakes a long way, out onto the sidewalk and up around the church.
People come pulling their makeshift wagons, like the one Ben Elder fashioned at home.
"A lot of people want my cart," Elder says.
Twice a month, Collins Hill serves people over 3,000 people who live in the 30318 zip code, plus seniors. The area is a food dessert. The closest grocery store is four and a half miles away in a different county.
Corona says, "Getting to the grocery store is a six hour, one way trip, with transfers on the bus. They do their shopping and then it's the same trip back home."
Six hours, really? "This is something I've been told over and over. 'Oh my gosh', they say it all the time. So many of our seniors ride the bus and they have very good knowledge of the transportation simply because that's their way of life. The challenge is that they have to travel into another county (Cobb) to get to one of the stores. There's a Publix at the East/West Connector and S. Cobb and a Kroger on S. Atlanta at 285. While I haven't taken the trip myself, I've looked at MARTA maps to see where they have to go to transfer. It is very time consuming because it's not only the transfers but the time they have to wait."
Today they will receive 50 pounds of food for free.
September is Hunger Action Month. To help feed Georgia's hungry families, or learn more about the Atlanta Community Food Bank, click here.
Corono says, "It takes us seven trips to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, filling up a box truck each time to bring this much food back."
She hugs people as they wait in line. One woman gives her a thank you card. Sixty five percent of the people who come to Collins Hill are seniors, on fixed incomes, raising their grandchildren.
It's not a matter of stocking the pantry with extras. It's a matter of having food, or not.
Elder says, "It helps quite a bit, quite a bit. It keeps me from being hungry."