HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Over 600,000 people in the state of Mississippi suffer from hunger and nearly 200,000 of those people are children, according to reports by FeedingAmerica.org.
Food pantries such as the Edward Street Fellowship Center food pantry in Hattiesburg are encouraging everyone to donate, so no one has to starve this holiday season.
“Just like all of us, everyone wants that special moment,” said Executive Director Ann McCullen. “That special Christmas memory. So, they come to the food pantry.”
McCullen said this time of year can be hard for families in need. She said throughout the year they serve over 1,400 households a month. In November, they served over 1,500 and they expect the same during the Christmas holiday period.
“The people that come to see us on Thursdays and Fridays are people who may not have enough food in their house to eat,” said McCullen. “So, we give them grocery bags and it’s have fruits and vegetables."
McCullen said there are several households in the Pine Belt that are food insecure and the food pantry is available to anyone in need.
However, she said the need for donations is not just great for Edwards Street Fellowship Center but for all surrounding food pantries.
“Whether it’s to us, Christian Services, Salvation Army, Extra Table or any of the other partners in town, because we’re all trying to help the same folks and the need is great and the need is real," said McCullen.
The Edwards Street Fellowship Center food pantry is open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m at . The pantry serves Covington, Forrest, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jones, Lamar and Wayne counties.
Eligibility is determined by household income using Mississippi Food Network guidelines.
If you would like to donate, visit the Edward Street Fellowship Center website for a list of nonperishable foods needed.