Local News

December 21, 2013

Deck the halls and set the tables

Antioch volunteers dish out food, toys to families

Lydia Diego’s three children played happily on the floor of the cafeteria at Antioch Elementary School with their new toys as she and husband William Gaspar looked on.

“It’s a really good help,” Gaspar said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. “We’re very happy we got the help.”

Diego stays at home with the children while Gaspar works in a local carpet mill. They were among about 150 families the school invited to receive the toys, a stockpile of food to last over Christmas break and some common household items like laundry detergent.

School leaders said teachers and other adults at the school selected families they knew could use the extra assistance, especially as they can’t rely on the school breakfasts and lunches to help feed their families. School counselor Jennifer Schneider said a group of volunteers delivered Thanksgiving food to between 40 and 50 families earlier this year, but this marks the first time they’ve had an organized Christmas distribution at the school itself.

Alfred Turley, one of the pastors at Rock Bridge Community Church, said the church volunteered to help in the project once they learned of the need. The Northwest Georgia Branch of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank pitched in food while the church helped cover part of the food costs and other expenses. The school’s student leadership team held a toy drive in which they collected 2,000 new and gently used playthings that youngsters were allowed to pick out for themselves as families came through.

Michelle Thompson of the food bank said volunteers were also distributing food to families of children who attend Chatsworth Elementary, Coker Elementary, Spring Place Elementary and the Murray County Pre-K Center. They are dishing out 17,000 pounds of food among all the schools and will serve about 1,800 people.

Turley said Rock Bridge’s Chatsworth location is volunteering to help in the Murray County schools.

“We just were really overcome by the level of poverty in our community,” he said when asked how the church became involved in the effort.

Teachers and others in the local schools, he said, are “unsung heroes” who work to make sure the children who are enrolled there and their families not only get an education but also have their physical needs provided for.

“They are in many ways doing what the church should do,” he said.

Turley said the church had already done something similar at Roan School and decided they’d be able to adopt another school in Whitfield County. Church members were on hand to greet families Saturday and pray with them if asked.

Principal Tami Dodd said teachers and others will do whatever is needed to take care of their families. Some of them, she said, were worried how they would be able to feed their children over Christmas break. A few Antioch community families were unable to attend the event and Dodd said volunteers will deliver food and toys to those who couldn’t come because they lack transportation or for other reasons.

Lydia Diego said her family — including children ages 9, 7 and 4 — were grateful for everything. She said getting the food will mean the family can pay off some bills since they don’t have to spend as much on groceries.

“We wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,” Diego said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local congressmen agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014