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Pantry drive nears end

The picture of Christmas is often painted with Santa fightinghis way through a brick chimney, snow falling gently to the groundand presents wrapped tightly in holiday colors and keeping warmunder the branches of a decorated tree. Perhaps because stomachsare still stuffed with turkey, the food can sometimes beforgotten.

However, during this time of year people still get hungry.

“The toy drive is a good thing, but they have to have food,”said Gwen Dyess, Union Hall Baptist Church food pantrychairman.

The church’s food pantry has been collecting donations for thepast seven years, helping roughly 80 families per year. However,Dyess said the pantry sees a large influx of people needing alittle extra help during the holidays.

She said the pantry has already assisted 20 families sinceNovember and she receives more and more calls for help everyday.

“There’s a big need this time of the year,” said Dyess. “It’sChristmas time and a lot of parents are trying to save a littleSanta Claus.”

Pinching pennies to save for presents can add more pressure toan already stressful season. Having to factor food into theequation can make the cheerful holiday season a cold and miserabletime of year.

However, with the help from the Holiday Food Pantry, a jointeffort between The DAILY LEADER and the Bank of Brookhaven, a fewmore people can benefit from a trip to the church’s cupboard.

“December is a very busy month; when December gets through I’llhave to restock,” said Dyess. “That money is a huge help.”

In the seventh installment of the fundraiser, the Holiday FoodPantry has raised more than $7,500 this year from donations byresidents and local businesses. Funds raised will be divided amongthe food pantries at Union Hall, Brookhaven Outreach Ministries,and St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul.

Dyess said the annual fundraiser plays a helping hand in keepingthe shelves filled with canned goods and other nonperishable itemsduring the winter months.

“That’s going to play a big part in getting more canned food,”said Dyess. “It’s helping people that are in need.”

To contribute to the Holiday Food Pantry, donations are beingtaken at The DAILY LEADER offices on North Railroad Avenue, theBank of Brookhaven offices or can be mailed to P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven, MS 39602 until Dec. 15.

While the deadline to donate to the pantry gets closer andcloser, the amount of disadvantaged families still needing help inBrookhaven will continue long after the cut-off date.

“I had someone come that had two little kids, out of work,” saidDyess. “They just needed some help, they needed some food.”