Annie Johnson makes the holidays special for those in need

Annie Johnson in front of the Project Annie Inc. building. Photo courtesy Project Annie Inc.’s website

Project Annie, a small, community-based, grassroots food pantry that will have a big impact this holiday season, is located on Fourth Avenue In the heart of the Frenchtown area.

This year, Project Annie fed hot Thanksgiving meals to as many as 1,200 people.

Leading up to Thanksgiving Day, community volunteers came together to make donations to Project Annie.  Throughout the year, Project Annie receives donations from Grace Mission Church, East Hill Baptist Church, 100 Black Men, and Publix. Annie Johnson, the organization’s namesake, has run Project Annie since 1998 and says that feeding crowds like this would not be possible without the Frenchtown community.

“Different people know what I’m doing so they come help. If the community didn’t come through with food and products, then I wouldn’t have a program. I work with the community, I let them know what we need and they come bring by,”  Johnson said.

Tiffany Barnes, a Tallahassee native, makes it a priority to go down Fourth Avenue and make a Thanksgiving donation to Project Annie every holiday season.

“My family and I don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but I somehow end up with one every year. Someone will give me one, or I might win one from my job’s raffle, but I always give it to Project Annie. I love what she is doing down there so I make sure I support.” Barnes said.

The community not only donates  food and money to Project Annie, but also their time. During Thanksgiving, dedicated volunteers from the Frenchtown area and members of Johnson’s family give hours out of their day to help prepare and serve food for the Thanksgiving feast.

Wendy Wheeless is on the board of directors for Project Annie, and chairs the advisory council and helps get volunteers throughout the year through Volunteer Leon. This is Wheeless’ first year volunteering on Thanksgiving Day.

“Every year since about 2006 I help out the days before Thanksgiving, I help cook and receive all of the donations and put them in their respective places. This year is my first time actually volunteering on Thanksgiving Day and there is no other place I would rather be.” Wheeless said.

Volunteering for Project Annie this holiday season does not end with Thanksgiving. They will also need volunteers for Christmas Day. To volunteer or make a donation, you can reach Annie Johnson at (850) 222-6133.