Clanton Council approves trial run of Three Hearts program

Published 12:53 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Clanton residents facing hardship may have a new source of help following approval from the Clanton City Council for Three Hearts One Mission to pursue establishing a Little Free Pantry program.

The small wooden boxes of food would be designed to provide nonperishable food items to those who are going through a tough time. The pantries are planned as outside locations to have food available 24/7.

Julie Ellison and Rachel Davidson applied for nonprofit status for Three Hearts in order to meet state requirements to keep liability off the city. The state’s Good Samaritan Law protects the nonprofit from any liability in the event someone gets sick from the donated food.

Three Hearts plan to secure two locations for the small pantries and report back to the City Council for final approval.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver stressed the importance of the nonprofit getting permission from property owners before installing a pantry.

“And, they can’t be on the sidewalk,” he said.

Davidson said the Little Free Pantry program in her hometown of Middlesboro, Kentucky was successful.

Driver expressed concern that the opportunity for free food would be abused because of the lack of records being kept of who is removing groceries.

He also had concerns about the little pantries staying stocked.

“Some of the folks if you start shaking a loaf of bread, they’ll run over you,” Driver said. “Personally, you would have to prove to me that it will work.”

Councilman Jeffery Price said the effort could create competition with other existing nonprofits serving the hungry.

Davidson said having the food available could meet a need for someone who is either too ashamed or does not meet the qualifications to receive help from other sources.

Councilman Bobby Cook suggested giving the boxes a trial run, and Councilwoman Mary Mell Smith made the official motion.

Also during the meeting, the City Council approved:

— Allowing the Clanton Fire Department to apply for a FEMA grant to replace 18 air packs used by firemen. Fire Chief David Driver said the department had applied to the same grant last year but was not selected as a recipient.

— Purchasing another heart monitor for the fire department, if it is the same price as the last one.

—Sending a reserve officer to the Policy Academy in Jefferson County. Police Chief Keith Maddox said the officer will attend the weekend program and will be paying for the course himself.

— Purchasing five laptop computers for $12,801 to replace older models that run software no longer supported by Microsoft and no longer compatible with the police department’s software.