Giving thanks: Frontline Heroes project awards those going above and beyond during COVID-19

Posted Saturday, June 20, 2020, The Daily Tribune News

Through the Frontline Heroes project, Cartersville resident Chastity Maney saluted those going the extra mile to help others during COVID-19. The Cartersville resident organized the outreach with the assistance of Valli Millsaps, owner of Wall to Wall Frames.

“I was very pleased,” Maney said about the overall contest. “We had very deserving winners.

“[They] provided meals for needy families, raised money for downtown businesses, shopped daily and supported local businesses, raised money for the community, paid rent for downtown businesses. I wanted to make sure that these people realized that their efforts were recognized and appreciated.”

From May 13 to 25, the competition accepted nominations from the public, with the individuals receiving the most nods deemed the winners.

Recognized for their contributions to Dinners TOGO, Glenda Mitchell and Jeff and Tiffany Tindall were the top vote-getters, receiving 16 and 11 votes respectively.

Calling Mitchell “amazing,” one nominator commented her “commitment to this community shows not only through her donations to charitable organizations, but also her actions.”

“It’s a huge honor to receive this award,” said the owner of Glenda Mitchell Law Firm, who coordinated Dinners TOGO’s delivery meals. “I know there were so many great people who helped and volunteered their time so to be chosen was an honor. 

“We have enjoyed every moment of helping our community and being able to touch the lives of the people here in what small way we have has been huge to me.”

For Jeff Tindall, it was rewarding to watch others involved with the Dinners TOGO effort receive recognition from the Frontline Heroes contest.

“It is very heartwarming to see so many of those who volunteered in Dinners TOGO be recognized by the Frontline Heroes project,” he said. “It was also revealing to see how many of them were involved in helping our community in other ways. I can’t say enough how lucky we are to be in a community that radiates love and generosity like Cartersville.”

As the director of The Episcopal Church of the Ascension’s Red Door Food Pantry, the Cartersville resident headed up Dinners TOGO with the aid of BLESS Coalition, Will2Way Foundation and countless volunteers.

“The Red Door Food Pantry’s mission is to fight food insecurity in Bartow County,” Tindall said. “The purpose of Dinners TOGO was to feed those who were negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Especially in the weeks before the federal economic impact payments, it was a very scary time for many families and individuals who were losing wages and experiencing the tough decisions that many of our guests have to face. Which bill do I pay this week — food, shelter, utilities, etc.?

“We have exceptional purchasing power when it comes to food and we believe that no one should go hungry. So we decided that we would have a location where everyone who needed a meal could get a meal.”

Launched March 17, Dinners TOGO initially provided drive-thru and delivery meals to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the parking lot of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cartersville.

“With a few quick calls to our close partners at the Will2Way Foundation and the BLESS Coalition, we had their support and the beginnings of a plan,” Tindall said. “The weekend was frantic to get everything in place so we could serve safely.

“The school systems were in a similar position, so we had many calls with them and we collaborated on procedures and peer reviewed with the hospital. We also had to acquire the food, cooks and volunteers. It was quite the experience, but with everyone’s goals aligned with the same vision we were able to pull it off.”

As the outreach continued, Dinners TOGO expanded to three service areas, before wrapping up the general delivery and drive-thru services May 29. Along with Mitchell, Tindall shared the following Frontline Heroes assisted in the feeding effort — Bailey Beaver, BLESS Coalition; Pamela Whitfield, Will2Way Foundation; Jenny Petersen, Take Time To Travel; and Daryl Roberts, LIVE2540.

“We ultimately scaled Dinners TOGO to serve Cartersville, Allatoona and Emerson,” Tindall said. “In total, we served 56,445 meals through deliveries and our drive-thru line.

“This effort is a testament to Jesus’ love shining through our community. The collaboration between public, private and secular organizations for the common good was truly inspiring.

In addition to Mitchell and the Tindalls, the Frontline Heroes project winners included Buddy Frederick and his son, Jayson, GA Strong/Southern Cove; Pamela Whitfield, Will2Way Foundation; Bailey Beaver, BLESS Coalition; Jenny Petersen, Adopt-a-Senior; Lara Jeanneret, Social Distancing BINGO/Lara J Designs; Robert Adams, Cartersville Antique Gallery; Daryl Roberts and Zach Brown, LIVE2540; and David Franklin, Bartow Baptist Association.

Along with owning Cartersville Antique Gallery, Adams also is a professor of music at Georgia Highlands College. One of his nominators shared Adams “worked tirelessly to help his students and other faculty adapt” to virtual learning during COVID-19.

“I assisted my colleagues with organizing their classes, outlining lectures, preparing assessments, creating gradeFbooks and all the while taking our students’ needs into consideration,” said Adams, a 47-year-old Cartersville resident. “… As a native Cartersvillian, I am so honored to receive this award.

“Where it is true, we are all facing this pandemic together, it is also true that this situation has caused a greater hardship to some more than others. Where we can lend a helping hand to those in need has always been a part of the Cartersville spirit.”

On June 13, the Frontline Heroes project paid tribute to these heroes at a ceremony at Friendship Plaza in downtown Cartersville. In addition to the recognition, each winner was presented a portrait captured by The Daily Tribune News Photographer Randy Parker and custom-framed by Millsaps’ shop.

“We had quite a few people that came out and joined us in Friendship Plaza,” Maney said. “I am very grateful for the community involvement. I was quite surprised by how big this became.

“I hope that by shining a light on our local heroes, it will inspire others to step up and get involved with the community.”