The Salvation Army of Greater Jackson has received a welcome donation just in time for the holidays. The group received more than 40 thousand pounds of poultry and eggs yesterday from the Mississippi Poultry Association. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports the donation will help meet the huge increase food banks are seeing for their services.
Prayers of thanksgiving rang out in the parking lot of the Salvation Army headquarters in Jackson yesterday. Salvation Army Colonel Ken Chapman says the prayers were for the truckloads of food that will eventually end up on the tables of needy families across Mississippi.
"We have had an increase of over 60 percent in the last 6 week of people coming into our social services doors. We believe it’s because the SNAPS program, and food stamp program has been cut. Corporations are cutting hours and benefits because they're unsure about what's happening in Washington. So were trying to step up with the other social service agencies in Mississippi so no one goes hungry."
The poultry and egg products are being distributed to more than 400 soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other agencies supported by the Mississippi Food Network. Walker Satterwhite, Executive Director of the Food Network says over the last 3 years they have seen a growing number of people needing food.
"We're seeing people that weren't ordinarily in this situation. So with this donation it’s not going to do anything but add to what we need. We are currently serving about a hundred fifty thousand people a month. But there's such a shortfall because there's 600 thousand that live in poverty in Mississippi. So this will be a big boost especially during the holidays but there is so much more we need to do."
In this season of thanksgiving Governor Phil Bryant says he's asking all Mississippians who are able to step up to the plate and become a blessing for those in need.
"We turn to our churches, to our benevolent associations, to the food pantry that you see here today, Salvation Army. All of those organizations that come together at a very special time. We'll make sure that those people that need food, that have children at home that will not have a happy holiday or a merry Christmas were gonna provide for them. And at Christmas were gonna be gathering gifts. We're gonna have the kettles out and we're gonna make sure they have a merry Christmas as well."
Officials say they hope with the food contribution will bring attention to hunger in the state and spur other Mississippian's to help in the fight against it. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.