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New fangled version of an old-fashioned barn raising

I used to spend a pretty good bit of time in the Macon County Mennonite community participating in dove shoots. There were 42 dairy farms packed into a relatively small area and all those farms were producing corn silage. That meant lots of grain and lots of doves. The Mennonite culture has changed some now though I am sure there are still some strict adherents. Back then, their trucks were black and had no chrome and no radios. There were no televisions or radios – other than a weather radio – in the houses either. There were rumors that two Mennonites were excommunicated for sneaking off to a motel on the interstate in Perry to watch the Super Bowl. I never got to the truth of that but it made a good story. The dead lay in state in the front room of the home and family and others ‘˜sat up with the dead’ until they were laid to rest. When a farmer was sick, others pitched in to make sure cows were milked and other farm chores handled. It was work. Dairy farming is not for those who don’t want to work. Once there was a fire that destroyed a dairy barn. The Mennonites got together for what they called a ‘˜frolic’. The frolic was actually an old-fashioned barn raising. Every abled-bodied male brought building materials and tools and worked until the barn was rebuilt. The women and girls cooked up feasts of legendary proportions. It was a sight to behold. I thought it was cool at the time and still do. There was something special about folks helping their fellow man; neighbors helping a neighbor in need. Flash forward 25-30 years and you are afforded the opportunity to participate in a ‘˜frolic’ right here at home. Jimmy Fambro has been operating the Hope Tree Ministries food bank here on a shoe string budget, a wing and a prayer for a very long time. He has a small number of volunteers who work with him. He is often awakened in the middle of the night and responds by delivering boxes of non-perishable food items to families in need around the community. He is constantly out there hustling money and food items but he never seeks the limelight. He is an humble servant to the Lord and to the community he calls home. Jimmy’s tireless efforts have paid off and his food bank is about to get a new home. Bruce Akins is providing land at the corner of College Drive and Carleeta Street near the Akins fertilizer plant. A 2500-square foot facility will be built there with the help of David Clark and Square Foot Ministries. The new food bank will be built ‘˜frolic’ style over a 40-hour period beginning on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving. The expertise and building materials will be in place on the site and volunteers will frame, wire and finish the building and install the HVAC system. So, this is your chance to participate in a good old-fashioned barn raising and help a good cause at the same time. Those with carpentry and wiring skills are needed. If you can drive a nail, carry a 2×4 or hand out water and snacks to those who can, you are needed and can be of assistance. If you are willing to help with the build, call Fambro at 678-972-2457 or Clark at 770-639-0346. If your frolicking days are behind you, mail a check to Hope Tree Ministries, P.O. Box 782, Barnesville, Ga. 30204. Even the smallest gift will be appreciated. So, forget Black Friday shopping and give back to your fellow man and your community at Thanksgiving and be thankful for the opportunity. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter. He may be reached at news@barnesville.com or by calling 770-358-NEWS.

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