JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – With Thanksgiving approaching, local organizations strive to help Mississippians who don’t know how they’ll put food on their table this year.
According to the Mississippi Food Network, one in six Mississippians — roughly half a million people — don’t have enough to eat. Almost one in five children go to bed hungry most nights. Over one-eighth of Mississippi’s seniors experience regular shortfalls in food.
It would take almost $300 million to ensure no one faces hunger in the Magnolia State. Below are organizations working towards the goal of hunger no longer being a part of Mississippi’s reality.
Extra Table is a non-profit based in Hattiesburg whose goal is to end hunger in Mississippi. Through the help of donations, it purchases new, healthy and shelf-stable food by the truckload and delivers it to partner food pantries monthly across the state. Nine pantries in Jackson, a pantry in Canton, and four pantries in Hattiesburg receive food from Extra Table.
Last year, the organization distributed 3,000 turkeys. This year, they sought donations to provide three chickens for families. Chickens are cheaper, they cost less to store and distribute and are easier to cook. The organization is raising funds through t-shirt sales to help do this.
Mississippi Food Network
The Mississippi Food Network provides a plethora of programs to ensure people do not go hungry throughout the state. Through its Emergency Food Assistance Program, food is provided to over 430 churches and nonprofits to help operate food pantries, community kitchens and shelters. The BackPack Program helps lessen the consequence of chronic childhood hunger by providing a meal kit of child-friendly foods to hungry children on weekends and school holidays, like Thanksgiving. The network’s Senior Grocery Program provides healthy, shelf-stable food monthly to qualified at-risk seniors for an entire year. The money provided helps to ensure these programs and others can continue to exist.
Local pantries, organizations, grade schools and even colleges can have resources available for those in the community. Local organizations and groups often have food drives, outreach and campaigns specifically tailored to their respective communities. Both Mississippi Food Network and Extra Table have information about pantries within their network.