More than 850 Newton County families received food baskets during Saturday's distribution day of the Newton County Food Basket Brigade, held at the Newton County Fairgrounds.

More than 850 Newton County families received food baskets during Saturday's distribution day of the Newton County Food Basket Brigade, held at the Newton County Fairgrounds.
Starting at 7:45 a.m., a family member walked around the fairgrounds building with a shopping cart and a number representing the number of family members in their household. The fairgrounds building was a mock grocery store filled with perishable and non-perishable food items ranging from a pre-cooked ham to green beans, corn, cake mixes, potatoes, eggs and bread. The countless volunteers would hand out the food.

Food basket families
Rose Stockton and her young daughter, Mersadize, participated in the event.
"(Since) that it is Christmas, we are a little bit short on funds and it helps us out a lot because of Christmas and not having a whole lot of cash," said Rose, who has four in her family. "This is my second year attending. Without this, we would probably struggle. Everything (including food prices) is high."
The food basket brigade officially kicked off just before Thanksgiving, with individuals donating either perishable and non-perishable food items, but also money for the cause.
"I appreciate them (volunteers) so much, coming out and helping," said Rose.
Rose said her favorite food at this time of the year is ham, but then her daughter commented with a big smile, "I like pickles."
Connie Smith has a family of seven in her household.
"This helps us tremendous," said Connie. "My husband can't work, he had a stroke three years ago. I just got a job working a couple of days a week. This is going to help."
Connie said she has participated in the program for 10 of the 30 years the food basket brigade has been going on.
"It helps out a lot," she said. "Most of the food will be used for the holiday meal. (Without the help), I don't know, it would be kind of rough on us. This helps us out tremendously every year. It helps us get through the holiday season. If you are trying to prepare, you take a month's income and do the holidays, that is a big meal."

Volunteering
Aside from those who were present, each year there are some who sign up for homebound food baskets. Betty Scott - who has volunteered with the program for a number of years - was walking around with a shopping cart and collecting food for an individual who was homebound.
"I love this. I have done this for about 15-20 years," Betty said. "It helps (people) a lot."
Terry Cook, president of the food basket brigade was pleased with the amount of food and donations that the community donated.
"We feel like we have great numbers (food), people have been really, really generous this year, with food and monetary donations," said Cook, in an earlier interview with the Daily News. "It is great. It is just amazing how people help each other. This community, this county, they just reach in and give their last dollar. They really do."