HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Salvation Army has seen an increase of people in need in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials say the charity serves thousands of people each year, but the pandemic has caused more people to need items, which impacts how much food the pantry has.
“People have lost their jobs,” said Salvation Army social worker Frances Nixon. “Unemployment has increased, there’s been health issues as well and so with the lack of income, they are needing food you know to feed their families, feed their children.”
The shelves of the pantry are primarily empty, and their challenge to people is to fill them up. They take nonperishable items as well as frozen food, meat, personal hygiene items and furniture. The Salvation Army also accepts monetary donations.
Wanda Lawrence, a social services assistant at the Salvation Army, says the food drive is all about helping those in need.
“My challenge is that we don’t want no one hungry, especially children since school turned out early,” said Lawrence. “We would like to be able to provide for families. And we provide for the homeless people as well. You know they come by sometimes and say that ‘we are hungry.‘”
The impact made goes far beyond just providing people with items.
“It shows that someone’s caring, that you care,” Lawrence said. “You know, it’s good that you can come here and get food because sometimes they may not have the money to go out and you know purchase what they want. So you know we give them things that can easily sustain them for a little while.”
Donations can be dropped off at 5670 U.S. Hwy 49 in Hattiesburg Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.