• 66°

Food pantry is ‘a really worthwhile ministry’

For many years the St. Vincent de Paul Ministries’ food pantry has been following its namesake in serving the community’s most impoverished residents.

The food pantry is coordinated by Jim Bonner. For nearly a decade, Bonner has workedto expand St. Vincent de Paul Ministries’ mission to feed the hungry.

“It’s a really worthwhile ministry,” he said. “It’s really fruitful.”

For many, food security is something taken for granted. But poverty leaves many others in a position where they have to worry about feeding themselves and their families — especially as the holidays approach.

Every year, The Daily Leader partners with Bank of Brookhaven to raise money for local food pantries during the holiday season, when some families have difficulty filling their refrigerators and shelves. Children are off for two weeks on Christmas break and don’t receive the school lunches that families living in poverty can come to rely on.

And like most of Mississippi, poverty is a big problem in Lincoln County. In 2017, there were more than 2,000 children in Lincoln County living in families that experience food insecurity through at least part of the year, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Center.

This year, the money from the Holiday Food Pantry Drive will be split between three local food pantries — St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul Ministries, the Greater Hope Foundation and Bethel AME.

While St. Vincent de Paul Ministries accepts donations of both food and money, food pantries can benefit more from a monetary donation.

“It reduces our handling,” Bonner said. “We buy groceries by the case.”

The food pantry uses 100 percent of received donations to purchase large, bulk orders of food. While the food pantry has humble beginnings — it was originally operated out of a garage — now it gives away more than 60 boxes of food a month, and Bonner said the boxes are large enough to feed a family for three or four weeks.

“I think it’s pretty important,” Bonner said. “It helps these folks who really don’t have too many places to turn to.”

The St. Vincent de Paul Ministries food pantry takes donations — and gives out food — throughout the year. Anyone interested in receiving aid or making a donation can contact the organization at 601-833-2709.

Supporters of the Holiday Food Pantry Drive 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. 20.

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.