River Valley Agency on Aging draws big crowd for fresh produce giveaway

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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) –There was a purpose to that long line of cars that stretched through the Columbus Historic District Friday morning. 

This was about food. The fresh fruits and vegetables that we all crave this time of summer.  

The River Valley Agency on Aging held its annual end-of-summer fresh produce giveaway at its office on Front Avenue downtown. It was also sponsored by the Georgia Department of Public Health and the state Department of Agriculture.

“Every year at the end of the season we do a big one here in our parking lot where anybody over the age of 60 can come through,” Katie Howard, the Director of River Valley Agency on Aging. “This year, because of the pandemic we are able to give 24 dollars’ worth of fruits and vegetables. Usually, it’s 20 dollars.” 

The peaches, greens, corn, and everything else drew a crowd. More than 800 people were served and it and created a line of vehicles down Seventh Street almost to Veterans Parkway. 

“Usually because of Social Security, people think seniors have got it made,” Howard said. “The Social Security is not even enough to pay rent, much less buy healthy food.” 

“A lot of people are out of work because of the COVID,” Columbus resident Robert Mckie said. “Fixed income just don’t go as far as it used to.” 

Vera Degourville, also of Columbus, agreed.

“I need it,” she said. “I am on a fixed income.” 

Columbus resident Joe King knew exactly what he was going to do with the food when he got home. 

“Sir, my old lady can cook,” King said. “Collard greens, she knows what to do. And them baked sweet potatoes. Sir, look, I eat.    And then it’s free. And we ain’t got a whole lot of money. It’s a wonderful thing. That’s all I can tell you.” 

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