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Annual Food Pantry Drive gets underway Tuesday

Each one of the 15 years of filling shelves and hungry bellies through the Holiday Food Pantry Drive starts with one donation.

“It seems like after the first check comes in, the generosity starts to pour in,” said Shannon Aker, president of Bank of Brookhaven.

For 15 years, the bank has partnered with The Daily Leader to organize the food drive to feed the hungry of Lincoln County.

Organizers hope to raise more than $10,000. In the past, the funds have been divided between five area churches and organizations that provide food for those in need — St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul, Union Hall Baptist Church, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, the Greater Hope Foundation and Bethel AME.

The promotion starts Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving.

“We all have so much to be thankful for and donating to the Holiday Food Pantry Drive is a great way to spread those blessings around,” he said. “The community has always come through to help us help others. We may be one of the poorest states in the nation, but Mississippians are some of the most generous when it comes to taking care of others.”

Jim Bonner, a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, said he sees that generosity first hand every time he fills a box for a family that could go hungry without it. They are able to help about 60 families a month and families are allowed assistance only every six months.

This time of year, the need seems to multiply, he said. He chalks it up to the colder weather and Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meals. But fortunately, he sees the donations multiply as well. The need and the donations always seem to balance out.

“I learned a long time ago not to stress out about it, just depend on God,” he said.

Donors for the Holiday Food Pantry Drive have the option of donating in honor or memory of someone, anonymously, as a business or as an individual. The contributors’ names — unless requesting anonymity — and gift are publicized in the newspaper as they come in. A grand total of donations will be printed in each issue. The food pantry drive will end Dec. 14.

“We are grateful for the support of Bank of Brookhaven and the entire community,” Daily Leader Publisher Luke Horton said. “These funds help local groups meet the needs of local people.”

Donations will be 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. They’ll also be accepted at the newspaper office front desk. Donations to the Holiday Food Pantry will be published in The Daily Leader as they come in.

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