Ride along as Operation Arresting Hunger delivers 'a wonderful blessing' to a Warner Robins family
For the fifth year, Houston County sheriff’s deputies delivered more than 100 Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate across the county Wednesday.
“This is the biggest year ever,” Houston County sheriff’s Maj. Alan Everidge said outside a Publix in Perry as he and other deputies loaded sheriff’s vehicles with the precooked meals.
“This is a totality of fundraising made by deputies throughout the year,” he said. “We’ve done car washes. We’ve sold T-shirts. We’ve had donations.”
The Sheriff’s Office receives help from churches, the Division of Family and Children Services and schools to select those who receive the Thanksgiving meals.
“The families are appreciative,” Everidge said. “Some are shocked that we do something other than put people in jail. But it’s also brought our people together.”
From warrants to records to jail to patrol, all divisions of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office help, whether it’s donating, raising funds or delivering meals.
The effort, dubbed Operation Arresting Hunger, is the brainchild of Deputy Kevin Taylor.
“I just felt a need that in our job, which is to protect and serve, to go out and do a little more for the community,” Taylor said as he drove to Warner Robins to make a delivery.
“I know we do a job of keeping them safe. But, you know, I wanted to fight their fears and anxiety about not having a Thanksgiving meal,” he said.
Taylor pitched the idea to fellow deputies in his unit who are responsible for transporting inmates. Everidge also jumped on board, and the idea was presented to Sheriff Cullen Talton.
“Everybody felt like that’s something we could do, and it’s grown tremendously over the years from only feeding 12 to 14 families the first year to a hundred-plus this year,” Taylor said.
He has been there. He was raised by a single dad.
“My mom died at a very young age, and I seen him struggling and working jobs where he can keep the lights on and keep the bills paid,” Taylor said.
Christopher Scott of Warner Robins can relate. He’s been struggling to make ends meet for him and his wife, Tralencia, and their 8-month-old son, Noah.
Scott, who started working for Bluebird in January, said all was going well through August. But then the work started slowing down, and the company ordered temporary layoffs.
“With the slowed down work, that means my checks, they were going down,” he said. “As my checks went down, I couldn’t start affording stuff, you know, could barely keep food in the house, barely pay the rent to get by, and things were just getting tougher and tougher and tougher,” Scott said.
The Scotts attend Hope Church in Warner Robins and asked for assistance. The church responded with help with rent and food, and one member of the church is helping Scott find a new job.
“Last three months, we’ve been able to pay our rent, keep food in the house. ... It’s been really hard, but at the same time, God’s still been there. He’s like no matter how hard it gets, as long as you still have faith, you’ll still be able to make it,” Scott said.
His family has continued to receive one blessing after another, Scott said, and the Thanksgiving meal from sheriff’s deputies was no exception.
“It’s just such a wonderful blessing,” Tralencia Scott said. “It was so unexpected. I really don’t even have the words. I’m just so thankful, so thankful.”