Dear Editor,

Do you have your big Thanksgiving Feast all planned? But, who goes hungry in Gulf County and without your generosity and caring probably won’t have that full belly Thanksgiving Day? Bet you haven’t thought of these folks. Here are some examples of the recipients at the Food Bank. These are stories from the Director, Johanna White. Take a second to read these and then consider how truly blessed and fortunate many of us really are.

1. Here's a situation that just happened within the last two weeks. A single man who has worked in the construction industry. He is 59 and has had several mini strokes. He has no insurance and can't physically work any longer, but he keeps trying. He's being seen by on a weekly basis by a home health care nurse who is helping him apply for disability. I grew up with this gentleman, some of his health issues are caused from some of the things he did when he was younger, however, who am I to judge. We were able to pay his power bill for this month, sign him up for food stamps and enroll him to receive a food box each month. None of us know what tomorrow will bring when it comes to our health or wealth.

2. About six weeks ago we were able to purchase some meat at .17 cents a pound, we bought 500 pounds, all of it was gone by that afternoon. One of the recipients, an elderly man, came into the center thanking us for the meat he received from us because he and his wife can only afford to have meat every once in a while. Their SSA together is $1,500.00/month. They are both in their late 70’s with medical issues. They don’t have the Plan B or D of Medicare because that would lessen their SSA to about $1,200.00/month. He told me that he has been using a credit card to pay for what medicine he can and paying the 20 percent of their portion for doctor’s visits. Now he’s having problems paying the credit card bill.

3. We have a grandmother who is raising three of her grandchildren (I believe both parents are in prison for meth). One of the little boys was in a 4-wheeling accident about a year or so ago and had to have his leg amputated right above the knee. The grandmother has to take him to Birmingham for his medical needs. They live off of her social security check, along with receiving food stamps and the food from here. Every time she picks up her box, she thanks us for the food in which she receives because it truly helps her out.

There are so many more stories to tell. The elderly people are having a hard time paying their bills, with the price of goods increasing and no increase in SSI or pension, there’s not enough money coming into their household. Based on our numbers the Food Bank is providing food for over 400 individuals with most of the population being white elderly.

NOW, how can you help? Coastal Community Association of South Gulf County is spearheading a drive to make sure every family sits down to a Thanksgiving meal. The deadline for collection is Nov. 18 but it is not too late for you to give! Drop off points are at South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department (Cape San Blas Road), Capital City Bank, St Joseph Bay Golf Club, Gulf 2 Bay Construction (1934 SR 30 A-Simmons Bayou) and the Piggley Wiggley.

When you sit down for your Thanksgiving dinner and say your prayer, hope you can Pray-Lord, thank you for the abundance you have provided me and my family, and Lord, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make sure some less fortunate also have food today.

Dr. Pat Hardman