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Donations fill Greater Hope Foundation’s shelves

Flora Kelly’s wish list for Santa is short.

Peanut butter and lots of it.

Kelly is the director of the Greater Hope Foundation’s food pantry, which is run through New Hope M.B. Church. The pantry is in a plain white building on New Sight Drive across from the volunteer fire department and around the corner from the church.

Peanut butter doesn’t fit into Kelly’s budget when she’s buying food to fill the shelves at the pantry where more than 150 families pick up groceries each month. She spends her money on staples that are more affordable — boxes of macaroni and cheese, soup and crackers, canned vegetables.

Sometimes she can get fresh fruit and bread.

“It depends on what’s on sale and how my money’s running,” she said.

The Greater Hope Foundation depends on donations to pay for the food that comes in and goes out just as quickly. Kelly has been keeping the shelves stocked for 16 years.

Kelly and other volunteers distribute rations on the second and last Thursdays of every month. Recipients choose what they take home based on guidelines from the Mississippi Food Network and the Department of Agriculture. For example, a family of four can pick 30 items from the shelves. Families are limited to one visit a month.

Meat is also provided. Kelly keeps a deep freezer filled with chicken and beef she’s scored at local sales.

The church-sponsored food pantry doesn’t let anyone leave hungry. They’ll give groceries to someone who doesn’t qualify for the program, but Kelly lets them know they won’t be able to come the following month.

To volunteer to stock shelves and distribute food or to receive assistance, call Kelly at 601-757-7299.

Greater Hope is one of four food pantries that will receive assistance through the 15th annual Holiday Food Pantry Drive, which is a joint effort between Bank of Brookhaven and The Daily Leader.

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

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 Friday.

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.