By Tia Lynn Ivey
In the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic, groceries and sanitation products are flying off the shelves faster than stores can restock them. Pictures of shoppers hoarding toilet paper and other supplies have flooded social media platforms as people all over the country prepare to self-quarantine in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the community in Morgan County will not forsake each other in this time of crisis.
Jamisha Allen, a healthcare worker born and raised in Madison, orchestrated a care-package drive out of the Gilmore House in Madison last Sunday, distributing over 100 tote bags full of groceries for families and the elderly.
Allen was inspired to provide groceries for families after the sudden school closures were announced,
“You know it was just so unexpected and I wondered if parents were prepared with the groceries they needed to feed their kids once the schools closed,” said Allen.
Allen said her heart was burdened for parents who might be struggling, so she prayed about what to do and the answer was clear, so she acted. She put out the call for donations on Facebook and was overwhelmed with the response.
“We truly exemplify the saying ONE Morgan,” said Allen. “All the love, support, volunteers and donations from everyone all over Morgan was tremendous. Absolutely overwhelming. We have a beautiful town with people still reaching out to me. I am so appreciative and I know the people who received the packages are appreciative, too. I can’t name everyone who donated and volunteered but I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
According to Allen, Ingles donated over 100 tote bags and people from all over Morgan County dropped off donations to put together care packages for Morgan County families.
On Sunday, March 15, volunteers gathered at the Gilmore House to pass out the prepared care packages to families in need. Among the volunteers were Jamisha’s teenage daughter Joy, who was also celebrating her birthday. She and her friends spent her birthday caring for the community and it was not in vain, according to Allen.
“We had parents with testimonies that brought me to tears, We even had kids that walked in the rain,” said Allen. “It definitely was a success.”
“Sunday’s food distribution showed our community at its best. Jamisha saw the need, and shared her idea – that lit the spark and many of us responded,” said Jeanne Dufort, who volunteered on Sunday.
“When I saw people carrying in load after load, I got emotional and said, ‘I have to at least serve,” said Nicole Davis Garrett, who volunteered Sunday.
City Councilwoman Chris Hodges helped with the event as well.
“When I saw that kids would have to be homeschooled, I sensed there would be a lot of working moms who needed a helping hand,” said Hodges. “Then I saw Jamisha Allen’s post on Facebook. She was thinking the same thing. I helped lay the groundwork, then reached out to the community for donations. But she’s the one that made it happen.”
Families showed up Sunday to pickup care packages, but volunteers didn’t stop there.
“We made some deliveries of packages to elderly folks we knew couldn’t get out to the store,” said Allen.
Another volunteer Beth David-Erwin delivered food to a local woman with six grandchildren. Upon arriving to the woman’s house, she was shocked to see volunteers with bags of food in hand for her family. The grandmother had just given her last few dollars to the church that morning.
“She tells us her story, smiles and says, ‘Now look what God done gone and did! This is a lot more than I gave Mim!’” Recounted Erwin. “Salt of the earth. I was blessed to have met her.”
Allen expressed gratitude to all the community partners who came together to make Sunday’s care package event a success.
“Special thanks to the volunteers Ruth Bearden, Beth David-Erwin Stacey Broadnax and Ashley Nelson. Also I would like to Thank Chris Gilbert Hodges who collaborated with me and played the key role in helping bridge the community together to make the vision a reality,” said Allen. “She is a great community leader who puts her heart in everything she does. People of all walks came together to make this a success. All races genders, ages, religions and classes in the community made this Possible. One Morgan was and is a true melting pot of love.”
Allen is in the process of putting together another care-package distribution event this weekend at the Gilmore House in Madison since school closings will last even longer than first anticipated.
“We haven’t pinned down the date yet, but we are hoping to do another one this Saturday or Sunday,” said Allen.