Pastor looks to open soup kitchen for hungry children - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Pastor looks to open soup kitchen for hungry children

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WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- With broom in hand, Russell Swafford pushes through the halls of Gilbert Elementary in Lafayette, GA.

For ten years he's seen more kids eat lunch as the only meal of the day, and that's struck a nerve.

"It really concerns me. I would hate to think my kids didn't have anything to eat in the evening."

When he puts the broom down he picks up a bible and pastors Faith Worship Center.

Here he hopes to one day fix the children's hunger problem in Walker County by adding a daily soup kitchen.

There is an abandoned home next to his church where he wants the future site of the soup kitchen to be.

"I don't pastor a large church so it would be difficult for us to do on our own," he says.

The good news is Swafford is not alone.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank is one of several organizations working with the schools in Walker County.

Laura Kilpatrick runs the sack pack program that helps around 300 kids a week with a meal.

So far Gilbert Elementary hasn't been on the list.

"The food insecurity rate for Walker County is rather high. It is around 28 percent."

The latest census data shows 16 percent of families in Walker County are below poverty level which in most cases is directly related to families going hungry.

"It is on a wider scale than what any of us can imagine," Swafford says.

Which is why Swafford is asking for the community to pitch in and help give his food ministry a jump start.

"The church needs to be responsible for the community."

There will be a fundraiser Friday, April 26 at Faith Worship Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The church plans to sell plates of barbecue for $5 a plate.

If you want to help the ministry you an contact Russell Swafford at 423-313-7035 or by email at

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