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January 2021
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Big load of free stuff: Rotary supplies non-profits

rotary truck

Max Caylor / Photo

Kayla Kinser, Jacque Elwarner and Whitney Carnes of Pickens Family Connection help sort through 26 pallets of free goods for the community.


By Max Caylor

Pickens contributor     


It was an amazing scene.  Volunteers sorting boxes and boxes and boxes of warehouse goods from 26 pallets in a covered truck Amicalola EMC. More than 116 volunteer hours were needed to unload and distribute the merchandise.

The trailer truck load was overstocked merchandise from the Dollar General Store warehouse and part of a Rotary project from the Covington Club.

Rotarian Terrance Houston, owner of his own trucking company, provided the trailer and delivered the merchandise to Jasper as a service for free. Asked why he did the project, Houston responded, “It is what Rotarians do.”

Amicalola CEO Todd Payne, along with other employees, really stepped up to make the project a reality.  In order to unload and distribute the free goods Rotary had to have a forklift, unloading dock and a place to sort the massive amount of goods.  “We can do that,” Payne said.  

Not only did the warehouse crew unload the pallets but they set up a covered area with four large fans, cold water and tables to hold the treasures as they were separated.

Jacque Elwarner, coordinator of Pickens Family Connection and new Honorary Rotarian, spent 30 hours recruiting volunteers, calling nonprofits and helping sort the items. “The items were a special way to help local agencies and organizations who are having to face unexpected challenges,” she said.

Unloading began at 10:45 a.m. on Friday morning and did not finish until the next Friday at 1 p.m. with Katie Bell taking the last of the Easter items for her annual egg hunt in Tate. Sheriff Donnie Craig helped by allowing jail trustees to breakdown boxes and haul them away.

Pastor Ben Mock of Mt. Zion loaded children’s toys, books and paper goods. “A lot of families are going to be blessed,” Mock said.

The Rotary Club of Jasper meets each Wednesday in person and virtually. For more information visit