Davis’ program feeds the hungry

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

For the second time in less than a year, 7th District U.S. Representative Artur Davis and representatives from Feed the Children partnered to bring help to needy families in the Black Belt. Davis’s Dallas County Initiative was announced Friday, April 22, at the Old Cahawba Visitor’s Center.

Feed the Children has provided assistance to children in need and their families in all 50 states and nations worldwide. At Cahawba Friday, cartons of food, hygiene and personal health products and school supplies were given to more than 400 families in Dallas County as part of Davis’ ongoing hunger initiative begun in 2003 to help families in the most immediate need.

Joining Congressman Davis at Cahawba Friday were Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Orrville Mayor Gene McHugh, City of Selma and Dallas County Commission elected officials, representatives from the Christian Service Mission and the Alabama Historical Commission, and Black Belt family members who had received distribution vouchers from Davis.

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In his brief address to the large crowd, Davis said “I often am asked why I am taking a hands-on approach to this project. The answer lies in the whole effort of getting necessities for the deserving. My office gives me a forum, a chance to bring resources to the Black Belt. So I remain focused on the responsibilities of my office, and this program is an important part of it.”

Recipient families are chosen by social service agencies, Mental Health and civic organizations and Department of Human Resources, who work with Davis to identify the people.

“This kind of project means long days on the road and in the air for me,” Davis says, “but occasions such as today make up for long trip back and forth to D.C.”

Looking at the smiling and eager crowd lined in front of the towering stack of cartons, each person holding an authorization voucher, Davis added, “When you can accomplish this, what more can you ask?”

The distribution Friday was in two phases, the first at Cahawba, the second following at Phoenix School, where a truck from Oak Mountain (Alabama) Mission Ministries was filled to the top with cartons of clothing, bedding and linens, appliances, school supplies and household items, all to be distributed as part of Davis’ initiative to bring hope and help to the Black Belt.

Officials of the Oak Mountain ministries were on hand: Tom and Joyce Wood, Jeanne Eggleston and Rhonda Marshall, busily stacking cartons that were beginning to fill one of the classrooms that day in the bright school filled with sunlight, children and hope.

Among those present with Davis were Phoenix Principal Minor, Interim Police Chief Jimmy Martin, the Rev. Terry Armstrong, students Brittany Sullivan, Chelsie Perry, Lakesia Billingsley

and Lanisa Swift and mathematics teacher Mrs. Goldston.

Davis’ remarks at Phoenix were also brief. “We have brought good will home, “he said. “It is time to stop talking and get something done!” Then he joined a group of young male students, who had assisted in unloading cartons from the Oak Mountain truck. “Now, we’ll chill out a while,” he said to the laughing group.

In September 2004 Davis and Feed the Children distributed more than 400 packets of non-perishable food items, hygiene products and other materials to the people of Wilcox County. Feed the Children annually ships more than 61 million pounds of food and 22 million pounds of essentials nationally and internationally.

“This is the type of collaboration that does not require legislation, but allows us to attack the challenge of poverty directly. We will continue,” Davis says.