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LaGrange Personal Aid Association continues feeding the community and more

LaGrange Personal Aid Association on Bull Street has seen a spike in needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are more than just a food bank,” said LPAA Paul Stedman. “We do utility bills, we do prescriptions, we do rent. We have seen an increase in demand for utility bill help.” 

LPAA is a United Way agency that receives a large majority of its food and donations from the local Publix and Feed the Valley. 

“We have a great relationship with the assistant general manager at Publix, Wayne Woodring,” said LPAA Food Closet Coordinator Jennifer Tenney. “Whenever we order anything from them, he brings it over in his own vehicle. He unloads everything for us. He’s definitely been a big part and a big help of this.” 

The LPAA got its start in 1923 by a group of locals in LaGrange, including the Callaway family. 

Tenney said they don’t want people going into stores and out of their way risking exposure to COVID-19 to buy supplies. 

“But if there is extra in people’s homes, we would love to use it,” Tenney said. “We don’t want anyone panic buying for us because we aren’t desperate for food right now. We could always use any kind of dry good. They are always welcome and always needed.” 

The LPPA food closet is stocked on peanut butter but is in need of jelly. 

“It is sustainable for long periods of time,” Tenney said. “Cereal is hard to come by right now, especially with this pandemic. Our main needs are canned goods.” 

Canned fruits and meats are a commodity that LPAA tries to give to the elderly locals. 

“They would almost rather have that canned meat, canned fruit than anything else because it’s a single meal or sometimes two meals,” Tenney said. “That’s something that is very low right now.” 

Stedman also added that the LPAA food closet has also been purchasing microwavable meals for senior citizens as well. 

“We also get food that we get from the USDA,” Tenney said. “They are able to supply us with a cheaper way of getting food.” 

Tenney said she would like to receive more fresh fruits and produce from local farms, if they have extra. 

“If they are about to get rid of it, we will always take that too,” Tenney said. “Even if one end of it may have a little spot on it or something, people will just cut that end off and use the rest of it. We don’t want people to feel like they’re just limited to sugar and flour and canned goods.” 

Before the pandemic, those coming for the food closet would typically go inside, check in and go through the process of getting their food. Stedman said they have eliminated that process and are now going outside to their cars and loading their vehicles for them. 

“Each week we feed about 60 plus families,” Tenney said. “It ends up being about roughly 150 individuals.” 

The LPAA is also good on volunteers right now and has been able to keep their volunteers safe while working by following safe social distancing practices. 

Tenney said most people will qualify to receive assistance from the LPAA. 

“If they are 65 or older, or a veteran, they can come once every 30 days,” Tenney said. “Anybody other than that I could help once every 60 days. All they need is their Georgia ID, and have to live within the areas we serve. They will receive about a week’s worth of food. We actually used to be 90 days. We just changed that the 60 last week, and that’s because we know that there’s a greater need right now.” 

Those looking for assistance from LPAA or wanting to drop off a donation can call (706) 882-9291. LPAA will be accepting donations Wednesday at 10 a.m. until noon