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February 7, 2024 30 mins
The Mid South Food Bank needs our help. Go to www.midsouthfoodbank.org to find out more. Thank you Carhy Pope for all you do in our community.
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(00:00):
Hello, everyone, Welcome to anotheredition of the show. It is the
Pulse, and we keep our fingertipson the pulse of our community. I
am Stormy, and man, whata week we've had around here. What
a week. I've got a specialguest on the show, another special guests,
Ladies and John. They just keepcoming, and I'm glad about it.
We've got to talk about it becauseyou guys know that there's been a

(00:22):
lot happening in our city as itrelates to the ice and snow and all
that that we had recently. Wehad everybody was dealing with that. Well
it was probably okay for a lotof people, but not okay for some
folks that were in need of food. So this week on the show,
I have ladies and gentlemen tell everybodywho you are and what it is that
you do. I'm Kathy Pope andI'm the President and CEO of Mid South

(00:46):
Food Bank. Our job is tofeed our neighbors in twelve West Tennessee counties
Critinton, Arkansas, and eighteen countiesin North Mississippi. Wow, that's a
big job. It's a big territory. So is that the South? That
what we call it South? Yeah? Yeah, So how many people do
you think that you guys service rightnow? Oh? Right now, we're

(01:07):
serving eight hundred thousand, easy,eight hundred that's almost a million people.
How do you do it? BecauseI know you've had volunteers, We've our
company has calmed down to volunteer,yes, but how do you do it
outside of that? I mean,that's a lot of people. So that
means filling up a lot of boxes, That means getting help from different organizations

(01:30):
and companies to donate food and eventhe community. How do you do it?
Tell me? Well, what Ilove so much, Stormy about the
food bank and the whole food bankworld. We have two hundred food banks
in the country that work through FeedingAmerica, and our job is to get
food in our warehouse and then getit out to the community by partner agency,
so that may be your neighborhood,church down the street, or some

(01:53):
other nonprofit in your community. Andthen we're also doing mobile distributions. Oh,
that's really been workhorse because of thepandemic shutting things down. But the
need is so great here, somany people who don't know where their next
meal is coming from, and theydepend on that partner agency or that mobile

(02:14):
distribution, and so we are uniquelyqualified to be that workhorse of getting that
food out the door because we're gettingit from various resources, which is why
we are able to stretch a dollarlike nobody else. You donate ten dollars,
we can turn it into forty mealsand you can't do that anywhere because

(02:35):
we're getting food from retail store levelpickup. So we're getting great partners with
Walmart, Costco, Kroger, andwe use volunteers to go through that food
to check for food safety. Weorder a lot of food because we've had
to. We just we need somuch for our community we're having to order
it. But again, we canstretch the dollar. We can have green

(02:58):
beans cheaper than you can buy themanywhere because we're ordering in bold. Well,
let me ask you this, justif you put a pin right there
where you were, if you canremember where you were, okay, when
it comes to food prices, becausefor us mean well for me, let
me speak for myself going into thegroceries too, one hundred, the prices
have gone up. Yesterday's price isnot today's price for me. So can

(03:21):
you still get the price that youwere getting before? I guess inflation kind
of hit us now. We arepaying about twenty five percent more truckload and
I'm talking about a fifty three footyou know, tractor trailer. So prices
went up for the for us andsignificantly up on transportation costs. Wow.
Wow. So it's hosting us moreto do what we did four years.

(03:44):
So you really need us now toreally give back and to yeah, yeah,
to help out as much as wecan in whatever way, because you'll
take us as volunteers, absolutely,and you'll also take us our money,
our financial donations. We'll take yourmoney. Yeah. It just takes a
lot. But the good thing thoughis you can do more with my money
than I could if I were tobuy the food and bring it to you.

(04:06):
Absolutely, we can stretch it fourtimes with what you can do.
And then that last really big partnerthat we're getting food from is the US
Department of USDA, So great partnersof getting food into the food bank.
But even storming, when you addall that up, we still need more

(04:26):
food. You're always looking for differentresources of food. We've really tapped into
our local agricultural community here, sowe're super excited that we're working with our
local farmers to get local. Ilove that. Yeah, we're so happy
about that, and we've done areally good job of reaching out to that
group. But yeah, when youput all those things together, and then

(04:46):
you've got volunteers that help us boxthe food and then we loaded on the
truck and we deliver it all overthirty one counties, that's a lot of
work. Yeah, and then youhave events like you were telling me some
of the your guess mobile food pantries. Yes, tell me about those.
Yeah, I was telling you beforethe pandemic, and I got here right
before the pandemic, about five monthsbefore. But all food banks kind of

(05:10):
work a little bit differently, andour food bank really relied on those brick
and mortar partner agencies that we havethroughout the mid South, so that would
be yes, and just people thathave I guess signed up to be those
Yeah, places like charities. Youknow, there are a lot of organizations
out there that are feeding their localand so our job is to get that

(05:31):
food to them in the quantity thatthey need to serve. And so so
that was kind of how we worked, and it was just kind of you
know, here's our order, andwe delivered this partner. And but then
the pandemic hits, and you know, everybody sent home, kids are home,
partner agencies are closing because you rememberat the very beginning, everybody went

(05:54):
home, shut down for two weeks. Now, the food bank didn't shut
down, obviously, because people haveto eat. And now what's been tough.
It was so tough because now we'resending these kids home and they don't
have any food because they're depending onbreakfast and lunch at school. And obviously
our phone was ringing off the hook. But the group really rallied, the
staff rallied, and we really I'mso proud of the work we did in

(06:17):
our community to feed And I'll giveyou an example. Before the pandemic,
we were serving sixteen point seven millionpounds in our service area in twelve months.
Sixteen point seven million. Wow.At the height of the pandemic,
we were doing fifty five million poundsof food. Wow, And that's shocking
that we can even come up withthat much food, but we did.

(06:39):
Right now, we're hovering at aboutthirty million, so we're still double what
we were doing prior to the pandemic. But again, we really rallied around
those mobile distributions. That's where you'renot having to deliver to a brick and
mortar. You're just going to acommunity center. You've advertised it ahead of
time. We're serving the first threehundred families we put it in there,

(07:01):
We put the food in their car. Everybody leaves by one o'clock and it's
really been a really great way toget large quantities to three hundred, five
hundred, eight hundred families at atime. Everybody goes home. You don't
have to store any food, andwe've been able to get into food deserts
and communities that don't have access toand we're doing a great job with nutritious

(07:26):
food. I'm so proud of howwe've come up with amazing nutritious produce.
That will tell me about that.Yeah, a lot of that is we're
very thankful for USDA. Again,they do a great job of sending some
produce, but we've really tapped intosome local farmers that are able to provide

(07:46):
onions, potatoes, squash, thattype thing. So and we get it
out the door really quickly because it'sperishable, so you know you've got to
handle it carefully, maintain that cooltemperature. But we're really able to get
that fresh produce south the door quicklyin large quantities. Yeah, that's good
news our community because when you're inone of those areas of what they call

(08:07):
a I guess they call it fooddoes desert. Yeah, when you're in
an area like that in the cityand you're able to get vegetables from you
guys, that's a plus. That'sa when, yes, and it also
is a plus for our kids,yes, and the people that need it,
because we all know that a gooddiet is going to help you with

(08:28):
so much in life. You know, it helps with when you go to
the doctor, it helps you beable to get around better. It just
it just helps. And so letme say thank you. When was the
last time somebody says thank you toyou. Well, people do that a
lot. You wouldn't be surprised,but yeah, people really appreciate the work.
Yeah, the bank does, andI do. That's big work.
That it's important work and it's neededis so so people are really very very

(08:54):
kind to us. Yeah. KathyPolk in with Pope, in with me
today, ladies and gentlemen with theMitsuth food. And again, I really
wanted you to come because we havebeen just going through. I mean,
it's been one thing after another inour community. You know, we had
the snow. Now it's a littlebit of rain and it's a little you
know, you know how well youknow, people don't like to get out
when it's raining and anyway, itjust all of that can just slow you

(09:16):
down. It's just so much goingon and the need right now is the
need greater after the snowstorm. Absolutely, with the schools closed and unfortunately the
food bank was right. We gotsnow and ice, so we can't have
our trucks slipping and slide's right,that's a very dangerous situation for our drivers.

(09:37):
So how did y'all handle that?What did you do? Did you
go in? No, We madethe decision at about eight o'clock each day
just to kind of you know,okay, see what's going on. Well,
Monday we were closed for Martin LutherKing. We were actually going to
work. We usually worked Civil RightsMuseum that day, but they canceled that.
So we were closed Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you know, Friday

(09:58):
was a little if it, butthe rain came and we did have some
slick roads, and again we haveto think it's not so much us getting
to the warehouse. It's all thosetrucks on the road because we don't do
anything if we're not delivering food.That's what we do. So we had
to just make that really tough choiceevery day. But when we got back.

(10:18):
One thing I love about our staffis we know our community really well.
So we know low income neighborhoods wherethe children are really in need of
food. Families are really in needof food if they've been out all week
and haven't gotten school meals. Sowe really are able to rally very quickly
and get that food into those neighborhoods. We've already got that lined up.

(10:41):
They know how to we go inwith mobile distributions and so we work on
that really quickly. Through our childNutrition department, they do a great job
with serving families in high need areas. And then we you know, doubled
up orders for whatever our partner ateagencies needed. The ones that were coming
back Miday Tuesday, we were gettingfood out to them. So I think

(11:05):
we do a good job of responding. That's good. That's good. Now
your mobile pantries, your mobile foodpantries, you go out in the community
and what is that people just comepick up boxes and they go. Or
is it some kind of a party? Is it? How does that work?
Yeah, and it can be kindof different levels of that. Mainly
how it works is we're working withsome partner out there. For example,

(11:26):
one of our mobile distributions is withthe Rotary Club of Memphis downtown St.
Patrick's. So we delivered the foodto this parking lot. They've advertised it
ahead of time for the first fourhundred families, let's say, and cars
start lining up early. But they'vegot all this food out there. They've
got fresh produce, they've got protein, they've got canned vegetables, you know,

(11:50):
all of that is lined up andthe cars just drive through and then
the volunteers will put whatever. Youknow. My job may be to put
the the bag of potatoes in thecar, the next person puts the protein,
and the next person puts whatever.So it's kind of an assembly line
and most of our partners that havedone it a lot, it works like

(12:13):
clockwork. I've got it down,and that's the best way to get food
to people that are that it's difficultfor them to access either a grocery store
or a partner agency. Yeah,you know, we actually came over to
volunteer and we turned into a littleassembly line. Yeah we did. I

(12:35):
think we did pretty good. Yaare putting together boxes that are going out
to feed families the next day,so that's important. Yeah. And I
was at an event with Urban Leagueand they had some of those boxes and
problems. They may not have beenthe ones we put together, Yeah,
but they had some boxes from thefood Bank and I thought, oh,
my goodness. The food bank iseverywhere, which is wonderful. So thank

(12:58):
you to all of those organizations.And the way you guys just weave your
way into the local organizations when they'reout in the community to help them as
well as help your partners out there, and then get out with these mobile
it's just it's a well old machine. It sounds like. Well, we
do have an amazing staff. Theyknow, they know food banking, they

(13:20):
love food banking and understand how importantthe food bank is to the community,
and so that makes it all worthwhile. But we have great partners and we
have great volunteers. That's the onlyway we can be successful in what our
responsibility to feed our community. SoI think that's why it works so well.
So people that are listening to usright now that maybe need your services

(13:43):
and don't know anything about them.What do we tell them to do?
Yeah, the most important thing isgo on our website at Southfoodbank dot org
and click find food. So wewant people to understand how they can access
food if they need it. Thetwo different ways. You can put your
zip code in it'll lasts for yourzip code that will populate partner agencies within

(14:05):
a one mile, five mile tenmile radius. Okay, you said it.
And then you can also click mobilepantries. We have a mobile pantry
calendar that is posted for the nextseven days, so it's always current,
always accurate. Yeah, you know, to the best that we can do.
And that way you can access amobile distribution if you can get there.

(14:28):
And so those are the best waysto access. I love that because
it gives the people that come tothe site more options. Yeah. Yeah,
and depending on their need exactly ifthey can wait for the mobile pantry
or it could be happening right thenand they just go they got a need,
you feel it absolutely? Yeah,I think that's awesome and a big
thank you to all those folks inthe community that do you know, help

(14:52):
out with you guys as well.How many volunteers a year do you need?
Oh goodness, I'm going to saywe have about from five to six
thousand that come through our doors.Now some of those there are only coming
once a year. Some of theit's a great opportunity, which I know
you saw for your co workers toget together. They really play music and

(15:13):
it's fun and it's loud, andyou're getting a lot of work done together,
kind of team building. So Ithink that's a great opportunity to volunteer.
And I think it's really important thatwe teach our children early to give
back. So we have a lotof the school children that come through,
high school, college football teams,you know, all of those. We

(15:35):
have lots of groups that come through, and we have a lot of people
that are just very dedicated to comingevery week or every month. There's always
a lot of work to do,and we could not move the food we
move without our volunteers. So ifwe had a group, you know,
maybe it was a non nonprofit organization, or if it's just a group of

(15:56):
me and my girlfriends have so dowe just go to Mid South Food Volunteers
Okay, yep? And you'll seeall. I mean, there's some information
that we need and even be ableto see what kind of shifts are available.
Not surprisingly, we have a lotof volunteers, like we stay booked
up in advance. That is wonderful. This community loves the food bank and

(16:18):
loves being involved. Well, listen, they don't call us the volunteer state
for nothing. That's right, That'sexactly right. I than Memphis itself,
I think is one of the probablymost giving cities in the state of Tennessee.
It is so caring, so concerned, want to do what they can,
yeah, want to give what theycan. Yeah. So put that

(16:41):
on the top of the list ofgood things in Memphis. Because people think
they're a lot of bad. There'sa lot of good that happens here too,
And you're telling me about some ofthose good things. So you've got
more good things that are happening.Tell me something else, just kind of
share a little bit of some eventsthat are going on. Again, volunteer
here. Wise we are running.One of the things I really love is

(17:03):
we have something called now trucks.It's called Nutrition on Wheels and it's all
nutritious product that has its own routeWe've got two of them and they have
a route that they're going to clinicsaround town and serving those patients fresh produce.
Okay, And we need volunteers tohelp with with those distributions. And

(17:23):
then we have a fresh market Fridayat our warehouse every other week where we
can have clients come and pick upfood. Like we're not usually pantry,
right, we don't deal in warehousingfood. You're the place where the food
comes and you get it out andthen we get it out. But what

(17:44):
we what we have realized is wereally needed to have people access food at
the warehouse because if you go tothe warehouse, it's got a big silen
says food Bank. People think theycan access food there, and we really
found that we needed them to beable to do that if they've taken the
time and the trouble to figure outhow to get there, we want them

(18:06):
to have food. So we havecome up with every other Friday we do
a distribution right out of our warehouse. We need volunteers to help with that,
Okay. We have the volunteers kindof walk the neighbors through. It's
like a little looks like a littlegrocery store, right they're at the warehouse,
so great opportunity to volunteer and talkwith the neighbor and just kind of

(18:27):
help them shop a little bit.So very sweet advents like that. And
then we also do a diaper bank. I don't know if you know we
have a diaper bank there about that. Yeah, so we where house diapers,
get them from wherever we can getthem from. Shelby County is a
great partner because the Commissioner's Finance somepart of that diaper bank, but we're

(18:49):
able to get diapers out to agenciesand on mobile distributions to help these moms
with these expensive diapers. So thathas really been a benefit. And where
actually having a mobile diaper distribution atthe food bank February tenth. Ok So,
again we advertise all of these thingson social media, so if you
can check us out, you knowon the website, so Facebook and all

(19:12):
of that stuff, you'll see wherethose distributions are. And then lastly,
we have a big Spring food drivethat we do in April with Fox thirteen
and that's really a fun way toget involved with getting food into the warehouse
for us. Okay, yeah,it is a great way and we need
to probably help you guys with that. As far as sometimes spreading the word,

(19:37):
Yeah, it's great that you're onthe radio that I'm you know,
Yeah, we're able to do thisand ihard to have this platform. But
word of mouth works better too.So if you are talking to somebody and
they're like, I want to donateor I want to volunteer, tell them
if there's one great place that theycan go do that, and that's at
the food bank, the Mid SouthFood Bank, and they can take their

(20:00):
young men and women. How old? Give me the age for volunteers.
I wish I had looked that up. I want to say that the child
needs to be ten and older andhas to have an adult with them,
and the adult needs to be presentunless they're eighteen and older. Okay,
okay, but on our website,and I should have verified that on the
website. When you click volunteer,it's going to give you all the information

(20:22):
you need about how to volunteer,how to sign up, and what's available.
Yeah, yeah, and you needto I'm telling you it's gonna it's
better for you when you go volunteer. It actually is better for you than
it is probably for the people topick up the food and now I know
it's good when they pick up thefood. It is, but there's something
about helping people and just being kindof a conduit that is a beautiful thing.

(20:45):
It is. And our neighbors areso thankful. They're just yeah,
they're so thankful and what they're gettingis fantastic stuff. So we're really proud
of the nutritional value that we're ableto serve. And yeah, and they're
just so grateful. It's a reallyspecial thing to serve, like in a
mobile pantry, yeah, mobile distribution, because you get to visit with them

(21:07):
a moment, help them and they'rejust so grateful. Yeah. Yeah,
it's a beautiful thing. We're sowe're blessed. We've got some jewels in
our city, and the Mid SouthFood Bank is one of them. Thank
you, It really is, becauseit's a place, I mean, yeah,
where you guys are really servicing andbeing a blessing to a lot of
people that wouldn't know what to doif they didn't have you. Well,

(21:32):
we wouldn't do. And I didn'tmean to rhyme or be a poet when
I said that, but it justhappened like that. Yeah, you know,
And again I think we're able todo what we do as much as
we do because this is such agenerous community with their time and their money.
Yeah yeah, Kathy Pope, youguys with the Mid South Food Bank,
thank you again. And tell meagain some of the things that you

(21:52):
have coming up in some ways forthose that need to hear it again.
Maybe they were trying to write thingsdown and couldn't get it. Tell me
some of the ways that they canreach out to you and get some more
information or where they can go andall that good stuff. Well, the
best way is Midsouthfoodbank dot org.There's tons of information on there. One
is click the volunteer button and thatwill walk you through how to volunteer either

(22:15):
at the food bank, at thewarehouse or at a mobile distribution or some
other distribution. And then if youneed food, we want to make sure
you know how to access food.So you can click fine Food and put
in your zip code, or youcan click mobile Pantry and you'll see the
next seven days of where we're goingto have mobile distributions. Okay, I
love it because really when you goto I'm on Midsouthewbank dot org right now,

(22:40):
Okay, and y'all. It's right. It's right at the front of
the page. I mean on thewebsite. First of all, you see
mid South Food Bank and you seea man and a woman there and it's
got donate now right there. Oh, let's talk about donate. Yeah,
there's a donate button. Yeah,we make it really really. You got

(23:00):
it on here twice you got todonate now and then at the top you
got donating yeah, and again wecan stretch your dollar. And that is
just the easiest way, the greatestway to be part of the solution of
hunger in our community. M Ilove that. Yeah, So find food
at midsouthfoodank Bank dot org. Goto Midsouthfoodbank dot org. And right on

(23:22):
the front there, front page,you'll see find food at the top donate
and volunteer. So find food.Oh, you got snap assistance. We
do snap assistance. So I don'tknow if you've heard kind of the problem
we're having with DHS. Yeah.See, but they were to talk about
was it thirty five thousand people.Yes, they went to a new system

(23:45):
in the summer and it's really castsome complications that they're trying to address.
Okay, I thought it was becauseof the storm. I know it was
a computer system that upgrade or somethingin the summer. But we do Snap
outreach because we want to make surethat we're assisting clients in signing up for
Snap. But why it's so importantthat the food is so important right now

(24:08):
is because a lot of Snap recipientshave had their benefits cut just because of
these glitches, and they're behind,they don't have their benefits and they're really
struggling. So we're trying to helpnavigate that Snap process for our clients.
We do Snap for outreach all overthe place. We go to lots of

(24:30):
different events because it can be alittle bit of a complex situation, you
know, complex problem of signing up. So we want to help our seniors,
particularly to walk them through that process. I love that. So we're
out there in the community all thetime helping people. Okay, so Snap
Assistance, you get the mobile pantryand then it says fresh Market Friday registration
locations. That's that's where we're doingthat. Do people have to register for

(24:53):
They have to register ahead of time. Okay, okay, so go ahead
and get registered to or if youknow somebody share this information Midsouthfoodbank dot org
is where you go and you beforeyou when you're on the front page,
you'll see all of the Mid SouthFood Bank donate now find food. So
I went to I clicked find foodand that's where I'm seeing all this where

(25:15):
the snap assistance, the mobile pantry, and then the registration locations. Yeah,
so this fresh Market Friday. Ittakes place every first and third Friday
of each month from ten to onepm and you'll be required to register the
Monday prior. Please take note ofthe change of registration locations. So locations.

(25:40):
Oh, you've got more than justyour location the food bank. Yes,
we go out into the community tohelp register. Ah, we're all
over the place, y'all. Areall over the place, y'all. Make
it so easy you may. Andyou've got a little diagram here for us
to find you. On the web, y'all. Everything's on the website.
Trying to tell Ms. Kathy Popehas been telling us that and thank you

(26:06):
so much for sharing this information.This is pretty awesome. Thank you for
helping us share this information. Thisis a great way to get the word
out. It is Mid South FoodBank. If you are in need,
go to Midsouthfoodbank dot org or ifyou know someone that is in need.
And we all run across people thatare in need. Yeah, and we
see people at the grocery stores,we see people on the side of the

(26:29):
road if we're handing them a dollaror two, whatever we're doing. Can
we just tell them, hey,have you been to the website or maybe
show them how to do it?Absolutely? Yeah, we want to make
sure that people know how to accessfood. And we were talking earlier.
I've been here four and a halfyears, but I still run into people
that haven't heard of your South FoodBank. They have no idea what we
do. You know, so youhave to say it, and then you

(26:53):
say it again, and you saykeep saying it. You have to keep
saying it because it's really important workin our community and we want people to
know how to be involved, yes, and to get help and to partner
with us to help feed our community. Yeah, and again, thank you
for stopping because I know that whatyou do is a big job. What

(27:17):
is that saying? Heavy? Isthe head that wears the crown? We
are busy. Yeah, you've gota lot going on. I mean,
eight hundred thousand people, it's almosta million folks. I know. Yeah,
and that's what is that Mississippi,Arkansas, and Tennessee. Yes,
we serve eighteen counties in North Mississippi. We actually have another warehouse that works

(27:37):
out of Mississippi is in Batesville,Pinola County, So we do a really
good job of getting food into Mississippi. And then twelve in West Tennessee and
Critinton, Arkansas across the river andShelby County is by far our busiest.
You know, we have other overa million people kind of in this area.
We have about a six team percentfood and security rate. We're number

(28:02):
three for senior hunger in the nationfor a metropolitan area. So we've got
some work to do. So whatif you have What if I know a
senior who can't get to you,can I come to them to you for
them? Yeah? How does youwork? We just need a proxy.
You have to fill out some paperworkand they give you a proxy which gives
you the ability to get to dothat for them. Yes, okay,

(28:26):
but we have some other options ifyou are if you are, depending on
where you live, we have arule. This is another one. We
have so many things I can't tellyou them all in a few minutes.
Yeah, we have a rural routeprogram. At the beginning of the pandemic,
we had so many people out inour rural areas that didn't have access
to food. And what we whatwe worked with was an agreement with some

(28:49):
of the outlying municipalities fire police towhere they knew, you know, they
know that local community, they knowwho is shut in and can't get out
and needs food. So we havea rule route that's out there every day
taking food boxes to whatever that proxyis. It may be the police department

(29:10):
in a small town with another county. We deliver let's say, twenty boxes
to them and they're taking it tothat senior's door. So we've done a
good job of delivering to the door. That's wonderful. Wonderful Again, thank
you for what you do. Thankyou, Thank you. And Mid South
Food Bank ladies and gentlemen, KathyPope, thank you again for stopping by.
We appreciate all the work that youdo in our community. Midsouthfoodbank dot

(29:34):
org. Absolutely and if they wantto call you, what's the number nine
oh one, four five, zerozero seven to two, okay, and
there are some other phone numbers.If you go to Midsouthfoodbank dot org.
There's lots of other phone numbers likeif you already know I need Snap called
Snap, already know you need volunteerand you want to talk to the volunteer

(29:55):
coordinator. There are phone numbers onthe website that can get you there as
well. Keeping our fingertips on thepulse of our community. I am Stormy.
We will see you next week,same time, same station. God
bless you have a great week.
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