Goodwill fills food pantry shelves

Published 7:21 pm Friday, December 10, 2010

Every Sunday people fill the pews of St. Francis of AssisiCatholic Church. During the holiday season, goodwill fills theshelves.

While the church’s food pantry operates all year long, it takessome extra help during the holiday season to keep the pantry going,and time and time again the people of Brookhaven brew a helping ofcharity.

“We don’t get any federal funding, everything is a gift to us,”said Mark Nettles, food pantry president. “It’s done by the heartsof people.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Nettles said high energy bills and the greater chance of illnessbrought on by the cold weather are just some of the reasons why thepantry is in need of extra help during this time of year.

“The winter’s always tougher,” said Nettles. “Right now, we’redoing three or four times more than what we normally will.”

Nettles added that during December, January and February, thepantry will feed roughly 250 families each month. He also said thatit costs about an average of $25 to $30 to feed a family of fourfor a couple of days.

“As long as we have money, we operate; we try to help as much aswe can,” said Nettles. “We can’t help everyone every month, but wedo a good bit of volume.”

Toy drives usually take the cake around Christmas time, but forthe seventh year, The DAILY LEADER and Bank of Brookhaven kickedoff the annual Holiday Food Pantry Drive in November.

The drive, which also assists the Brookhaven Outreach Ministriesand Union Hall Baptist Church food pantries, provides an outlet forarea residents to turn their Washingtons and Lincolns into greenbeans and corn for people in need of some holiday cheer. As ofFriday morning, the fundraiser has raised $5,630 in donations.

Whatever the final total of this year’s fundraiser is, Nettlescommented about how important the drive is to the church’s foodpantry during the holiday season.

“It means a lot to us,” said Nettles. “This time of the year,we’ll go through that money in one month, but it’d be difficultwithout it.”

As budgets can be tighter than Santa’s trip down a chimneyduring the Christmas season, Nettles is always amazed atBrookhaven’s ability to give.

“Every year I think we won’t do as well as we did last year dueto economic reasons, but it doesn’t work out that way,” saidNettles. “Every year we do just as good or better.”

December can be a stressful month. Finally finding that specialgift can be a huge relief, but the certainty of Christmas dinner isa whole different sort of comfort food.

“Literally some people come to us and they don’t have one thingto eat,” said Nettles. “They can leave knowing they’ll have somefood for a few days.”

Food pantry donations of all amounts are taken at the Bank ofBrookhaven, The DAILY LEADER or may be mailed to P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven, MS 39602 until Dec. 15.