HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - People across the Pine Belt are experiencing food insecurity like never before because of the pandemic.
Food pantries and soup kitchens report seeing a 30% to 50% increase across the state.
This week, Extra Table teamed up with some gulf coast fisherman for an extra special delivery to food pantries and soup kitchens.
“Extra table is one of those great organizations in our community that when there’s extra, they bring it here to Christian Services so that we can help get it out to other agencies and the people in the community who need it,” said Maggie West, Community Outreach Director at Christian Ministries in Hattiesburg.
This time, it was a delivery of Mississippi gulf coast shrimp.
“Catch Together contacted us, and they have granted us $50,000 to support Mississippi shrimpers at a time when they’re basically unemployed, unable to sell their fresh catch to restaurants and such, and so we were able to support them and pay for the shrimp and in turn take that shrimp to our food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Mississippi,” Martha Allen, Executive Director of Extra Table explains.
The delivery brought 500 pounds of shrimp to the Pine Belt that will be shared between food pantries and soup kitchens. Organizations getting a delivery include Edwards Street Fellowship, Christian Services, Hope Community Collective, Sumrall Food Pantry, Oak Grove United Methodist Church and Petal Children’s Task Force.
“When we contacted our food pantries and told them that we were going to be delivering shrimp for them to distribute they thought it was an absolute joke. How many times are you able to distribute something like shrimp?” said Allen.
She says it is a blessing to benefit hardworking coast shrimpers and provide food to people across the state.
At Christian Ministries the shrimp will be a fresh change offered to hungry families.
“Tomorrow and Friday, our regular diners who come through the line and have a way to take those frozen shrimp home and cook them will receive those, and in addition, in our upcoming emergency food boxes that are by appointment, the frozen shrimp will just be an extra blessing for them in these upcoming boxes,” said West.
Those in need are excited and thankful. Joe Barnett, a frequent diner at Christian Services is moved by the effort.
“I feel like every time people give Christian Services a donation it helps other people, and other people, they go help other people, and it means a lot to me,” said Barnett.