The Williamson County Fair has a modest entry fee.
However, last Monday attendees could enter not only with cash, but also with donations to GraceWorks Ministries’ Food Pantry, an initiative that raised 6,905 pounds. of donations.
Donations of canned food and toiletries will help GraceWorks Ministries‘ efforts to address food insecurity in Williamson County.
According to GraceWorks Ministries’ 2020/21 Impact Report, their food program served over 9,000 people in that recorded year.
“The fair is very kind to allow us to collect food as an entrance fee,” said GraceWorks Ministries food acquisition manager Phil Rutledge. “Right now, support means a lot. Food shortages are everywhere. A year ago, we distributed 567 grocery carts in June. This year, we distributed 938, so we almost doubled what we offer.
According to Feeding America, 6.1% of Williamson County residents are food insecure, which means more than 14,000 people need help with food. That number sits at 11.9% statewide and 11.8% nationally.
“Locally and globally too, I think it’s going to get tighter and tighter,” Rutledge said, adding that as donations have dwindled since the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve had to buy their own. more goods.
“The amount of food we get from grocery stores is what we call relief food,” Rutledge said, “the food that they have to pull off the shelf or has some life left in them. They do so that their food goes further, so we get a little less than before.
GraceWorks Ministries has been in business for over 25 years and operates a shelter and thrift store in addition to their food pantry.
The organization is currently looking for a new home after it was announced that its current building, from which it has operated for 22 years, will be sold and the lease will expire next year.