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Greater Hope gives back to the Brookhaven community

Out on New Sight Drive — past the quiet rows of graying oak trees and box hedges — Flora Kelly spends her free time sorting through bags of groceries.

She and a team of volunteers have run the Greater Hope Foundation food pantry for the past 15 years, and they work hard, feeding roughly 200 people a month.

“Many of the clients we have come on a regular basis,” she said. “DHS refers people to us, too, or a pastor will call and say they’ve got somebody who needs food. We don’t want anybody to go hungry.”

A former Brookhaven High School principal, Kelly has a heart for public service, and she cares a great deal about the people she feeds.

“It kind of gets to you emotionally when these people tell you their stories,” she said.

The Greater Hope food pantry distributes rations on the second and last Thursdays of every month, and recipients get to choose what they take home.

“They select what they want to eat,” Kelly said. “That way the food doesn’t go to waste.”

Much of the food Greater Hope dispenses comes from the Mississippi Food Network, and the pantry follows strict guidelines set forth by the Department of Agriculture.

Food is allotted based on the size of each household, with smaller families receiving fewer items. Kelly is also careful to ensure that everyone picking up groceries takes home a sizeable amount of protein.

“We make sure everybody gets meat,” she said.

The Mississippi Food Network requires Greater Hope to keep records on the individuals they serve. That way, the state can compile statistics on the different age groups receiving aid.

“When school is out, we’re going to serve more,” she said. “On holidays, we also tend to serve more, because kids aren’t in school.”

Greater Hope accepts donations year round, and they are willing to open their doors to the hungry of Lincoln County any day of the week. For more information on how to make a contribution or receive aid, contact Kelly at 601-757-7299.

“We just feel so blessed that we’re here and that we can help those in need,” Kelly said. “And we feed everybody, no matter if they’re black, white, blue or green.”

The 14th annual Holiday Food Pantry Drive is a joint effort between Bank of Brookhaven and The Daily Leader.

The money raised will be distributed among five area churches and organizations that work to feed Lincoln County’s hungry — Bethel AME, St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, the Greater Hope Foundation and Union Hall Baptist Church.

In the past, individuals have donated more than $10,000 annually in support of the drive.

Supporters have the option of donating anonymously, as a business, as an individual or in honor or memory of someone. The food pantry drive ends Dec. 15.

Contributions are accepted at both The Daily Leader and Bank of Brookhaven. Checks can be made out to Holiday Food Pantry.

Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602, and they will also be accepted at the front desk of the newspaper office. Holiday Food Pantry donations will be published in The Daily Leader as they come in.

Contributions to the Holiday Food Pantry can also be mailed to the bank, given to bank cashiers or donated through the drive-through windows.

Story by Trapper Kinchen