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VoyageATL, October 3, 2017

Story from our founder, Rhonda Miller.

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhonda Miller.


Rhonda, please share your story with us.
I founded United Food Force on October 17, 2012. With a passion to serve the underprivileged in our communities, I and my “Army of Angels” have led this organization to tremendous growth and now the lives of more than 2,000 families are touched weekly with food and other resources. “No man, woman or child should go without basic human needs. It takes an Army of Angels to meet a greater need.”

I grew up in a large family with a single mother and seven siblings, I was third from the oldest, and we struggled daily just to make ends meet. When I was 10 years old, I remember local high school kids coming to our home and they brought in bag after bag of groceries right before Thanksgiving. The community came together, “Uniting Forces To Combat Hunger”. I remember being so thankful and hugging them as they left. Years later, I became involved in charity and I feel that God has brought me “full circle”, especially when I delivered food and toys to underprivileged families during the Holidays a few years ago and a little girl ran out of the house and wrapped her little arms around me, thanking me for all of the food and toys.

In 2013, we started a weekly food program out of a warehouse in McDonough, Georgia, serving 72 families a week and today, in 2017, we are serving more than 2,000 families a week. We could not do what we do without the help of God, our partners/donors and the dedication and hard work of our wonderful volunteers.

According to the department of agriculture 1 in every 5 households is food insecure in the United States today.

The need is greater than most could imagine. Unforeseen tragedies and unfortunate circumstances can happen to any one of us at any given time. The children of today are our future tomorrow and we need to come together in our communities and help nurture and sustain their bodies and minds in an effort to provide a better and brighter tomorrow.

Has it been a smooth road?
After signing a lease on a warehouse for United Food Force, Inc. in March 2013, I was diagnosed with stage III endometrial uterine carcinoma. My doctor didn’t give me much hope. After two surgical procedures and weeks of radiation therapy, I can say that I am cancer free.

The road to our success has been a bit bumpy; however, we, at United Food Force, believe that the Lord will provide and he has. “I remember the day before inspections and I learned that we would need hot running water before we could pass inspections. I made calls all day trying to find a hot water heater. At the end of the day, I sent my volunteers home and I remained in the warehouse, sat at a table and prayed “I am lifting this up to you Lord because if this is meant to be, we need your help, we need a hot water heater today.” In that moment I received a call from Harding Plumbing in McDonough, Georgia. It was Mr. Harding returning my call. He asked me to tell him about United Food Force and what we plan to do for the community. He said he would have to call me back and he did. Mr. Harding asked “are you still at the warehouse” and I said “yes sir”, he said stay put because I have a brand new hot water heater headed your way. I was overwhelmed by his generosity and so thankful, praising the Lord.

When we hung up, I realized that I don’t know how to install a hot water heater and, as it was already after 5 pm at that time, I couldn’t possibly ask Mr. Harding to help me with the install, so I prayed and asked God to help me with the install. Mr. Harding called back in that moment and said “let me ask you something, do you have anybody to install the hot water heater” I laughed and said “no sir” I was just praying about that too.

Mr. Harding said “I’m sending my whole crew over to you and they will stay until the job is done.” With God, anything is possible.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the United Food Force, Inc. story. Tell us more about the business.
United Food Force is a charitable, hunger relief organization that was formed to combat hunger, ensuring basic human needs are met. The mission of United Food Force is to fight hunger through united forces/partnerships; provide nutritional food products that will nurture, sustain and enhance quality of life; facilitate, contribute and promote programs for hunger relief, strengthening our communities. We work hard to offer hope, inspiration and aid in meeting the basic needs of all who suffer.

United Food Force offers four different programs, to include our Emergency Food Box Program, Volunteer Program, Weekly Food Program and Monthly Food Program. Our Emergency Food Box Program is every Tuesday between 9-11 am and 1-3 pm.

Our Volunteer Program is Monday – Wednesday 8:30 am-4:30 pm. and Thursday 5:00 am – 1:00 pm. We offer our Volunteer Program to the public as well as all that come to us for Emergency Food Box as an avenue to continue to help their family until they find another avenue. For those who come to us for Emergency Food Box we also offer a list of other resources that we have established through partnerships if they are physically unable to volunteer or for whatever their need may be. Our Weekly Food Program supports non-profits, such as homeless shelters, food pantries, women’s shelters, families who come together as one to pick up a carload of food each week, etc, usually enough for 4-6 families per car which is every Thursday between 6 am – 11 am. Our Monthly Food Program is for individual families who come in one Thursday a month between 11 am – 12 pm.

United Food Force is very involved in community events and supports many non-profit organizations. We participate actively with special needs events, MS events, local outreach programs for underprivileged children, and we partner with local schools and businesses for our annual Holiday Food & Toy drives. We are given lists of underprivileged families in our communities by school counselors and they arrive at our warehouse facility each year to get Turkeys, food boxes and toys for their children.

United Food Force has worked with local county agencies, police departments, fire departments to aid victims of tornadoes in Albany, Georgia and Cordele, Georgia. We are currently working with partners and donors to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and bracing for Hurricane Irma and we will do whatever we can to aid the victims of these storms as well. “I was a victim of a tornado in 2005, Tropical Storm Cindy, and understand the devastation that comes in the wake of such storms. May God be with them all.”

United Food Force is most proud of the compassion and commitment of our donors/partners to help the underprivileged in our communities and we are proud of the very hard work and dedication of our volunteers as they are the legs that we stand on and we refer to all as “Our Army of Angels’. We are very proud that we started out serving 72 families a week and currently serve more than 2,000 in three years. We are blessed to be able to help so many who suffer and we are able to support many causes.

“Uniting Forces To Combat Hunger” is our slogan/motto. We work very hard to network partnerships in an effort to meet a greater need. We are not in competition with other nonprofits, nor do we have county restrictions or income restrictions. We have nonprofits and families who drive more than 2 hours to pick up resources that are needed in their community or for their individual families. If there is a need, we will do everything we can to meet it.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The vision of United Food Force is to ultimately win the war against hunger and we will continue to combat hunger in the meantime. We are currently scouting location for our second food bank. There is a need for mankind in every state of the United States and across the world.

Within the next 5-10 years we hope to have more food banks open and ensuring basic human needs are met.

5 year old honored, Janaury 2017

Henry Herald

 

McDONOUGH— Five-year-old Treandos Thornton was recognized by the Henry County Board of Commissioners Tuesday for organizing a local food drive over the holiday season.

The youth, with the help of his mother, started his own local food drive to help end hunger, bringing in donations from various parts of Georgia, Texas, New York and South Carolina.

“In recognition of five-year-old Treandos Thornton of McDonough for his successful effort of initiating a holiday food drive which benefitted the United Food Force, and just like Treandos’ favorite superheroes, Superman and Batman, he is a superhero to those who were helped from his selfless and gracious act,” states the certificate in part.


 The Treandos’ 2016 Community Food Drive benefited United Food Force, Inc. in McDonough, a nonprofit that serves families throughout the region. 

Cordele tornado victims, march 2017

Henry Herald

  

McDONOUGH— Another south Georgia town is hoping for a similar showing of support from Henry County churches, businesses, organizations and residents after many donated to Albany tornado victims last month.

Hampton, McDonough and Stockbridge representatives are again joining forces to help a smaller affected area, Cordele, which organizers say has not received much aid in the aftermath of a Jan. 22 tornado that hit south Georgia areas.

During the Feb. 4 150-plus mile trip to Albany, volunteers in a total of seven trucks and trailers, including McDonough’s United Food Force, dropped off thousands of donated items to the stricken city. Much of those items included underwear, adult diapers, infant diapers, nonperishable food, toiletries, cleaning products, clothing, bottled water and paper products.

 

“I can’t begin to describe the blessings that came from (Henry County’s) shipment,” said Juanita Nixon, executive director of Albany’s Cutliff Grove Baptist Church’s Family Resource Ministry. “All of their efforts were much needed, from the personal hygiene, toiletries, everything.”

Nixon, who also serves as the Albany director for the world-wide Christian based relief group World Vision International, said since the storm, the group has served between 100 and 200 families per day. Though the group has received donations from several communities, she said Henry County’s voyage to Albany will have a lasting effect on the city.

“They left such a refreshing spirit when they came, that is what God wants us to do,” said Nixon. “Those people reached out across miles through their convoy. We’ll always remember them in our ‘thank you’ prayer. They brought such godly, friendly, willing spirits.”

Katie Queen, organizer of the Albany event, said leaders in Cordele reached out to her seeking items for one of its communities that has been completely destroyed.

Operation Blessing International, May 2016

 Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation (OBI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, humanitarian organization headquartered in the United States. Operation Blessing provides strategic relief in 39 countries around the world on an ongoing basis. Through core programs of disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, vulnerable children and orphan care, clean water and community development, OBI is dedicated to demonstrating God’s love by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world. 

vets connect, june 2016

Henry Herald

 

JONESBORO — The Heritage Community Foundation presented a grant last month to United Way officials to benefit local veterans.

United Way Regional Director Shane Persaud and Betsy Brown, United Way county engagement director, were on hand May 24 to receive the $500 grant.

The grant will be used to purchase gas cards for Henry County veterans. In addition, Vets Connect in Henry County has the opportunity, through a private donor to the Regional Commission on Homelessness, to double its fundraising efforts in a matching grant program. Therefore, the $500 HCF grant will be doubled so that $1,000 is used for the purchase of gas cards. The cards will allow veterans and their families to access referral services, travel for medical treatment or relocate, if necessary.

 

Vets Connect in Henry County provides the support and services that homeless veterans need to get off the streets and into permanent housing.

Over the past year, veterans have been connected to the Vets Connect program through local municipalities, McDonough and Hampton in particular, the American Legion, Marine Corps League, Vets4Vets, and 2-1-1.

Once contact is made with local United Way volunteers and staff, the veteran and his or her family needs are assessed and veteran status is verified. After those steps are completed, hotels are contacted for immediate placement and ready-made meals boxes are delivered. Vets Connect then provides case management services combined with rapid re-housing services for the veterans.

In addition to providing the grant, the Heritage Community Foundation introduced Vets Connect in Henry County to Vance McCutcheon, Vice President/CFO of United Food Force Inc.

United Food Force, also a recent HCF grant recipient, is a nonprofit hunger relief organization located in McDonough. They are currently serving more than 300 nonprofit organizations weekly by providing food products and other household goods to community outreach programs, shelters, and food pantries. Through the newly formed partnership with Vets Connect in Henry County, United Food Force will help with the food-related needs of veterans in Henry County.