Holiday Food Pantry Drive raises $6K

Published 2:09 pm Sunday, January 7, 2024

The 2023 Holiday Food Pantry Drive successfully raised $6,000 for local food pantries. The donations came from 30-some individuals and organizations, many of whom gave their gifts anonymously.

This was the 20th annual drive, co-sponsored by The Daily Leader and Bank of Brookhaven. The local food pantries that will benefit from the donations are St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul, The Greater Hope Foundation, Bethel AME, and the Mt. Zion Food Pantry — $1,500 was presented to representatives of each.

Though the annual drive helps support each group’s mission to provide for emergency food needs during the holidays, the pantries also provide food stuffs year-round to needy individuals and families.

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More and more families are in need of assistance, each of the pantry representatives said.

“And food costs are skyrocketing,” said Jim Bonner, of St. Francis of Assisi.

Schools occasionally have food drives for the pantries, and individuals have donated large quantities of canned goods, as well.

Bonner said St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul has distributions once per week, and serves about a dozen families each time. Stanford Qualls of Bethel AME said their monthly distributions each reach about 175 families.

Johnny Hart and Don Hollis said Mt. Zion reaches approximately 235 families at each of its monthly distributions. Flora Kelly of Greater Hope Foundation said their monthly distributions reach anywhere from 285 to 300 families.

Donations can be made directly to each of the pantries at any time. Individuals can reach out to the pantries for information on donating to or receiving assistance.

• St. Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent de Paul, 706 South First St., 601-833-0340

• The Greater Hope Foundation, 1955 New Sight Drive NE, 601-833-3907

• Bethel AME, 712 South First St., 601-833-7740

• Mt. Zion Food Pantry, 680 Mt. Zion Road NW, 601-833-8018