Feed the Pinebelt: Sumrall Food Pantry pushing donations ahead of holidays

Food Pantry in Sumrall busy.
Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2023 at 10:34 PM CDT
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SUMRALL, Miss. (WDAM) - Food needs remain high throughout the year, but really peak in the late fall with winter just ahead.

The push to make sure no one goes hungry rings loudly from the Sumrall Food Pantry.

“If you are hungry, and you have children who are hungry, they need to be fed,” said Gloria Garretson .”

Garretson and assistant director Michael Smithers spend early mornings packing various food items in dozens of brown paper bags to give out to families in the area.

“Right now, we have 260 families we feed every month.,” Smithers said. “That equals to about 670 for our little bitty area and out church.”

Smithers said although the pantry is in good standing now, the number of families they help climbs the larger the holidays loom.

“It probably goes up 15 (percent) to 20 (percent), maybe 25%,” Smithers said. “It depends on the economy that month. And you know it’s getting worse. So we’re expecting probably a 25% growth this year.”

Without the community and partners like Extra Table, Garretson said the Sumrall Food Pantry would not be able to meet the needs of hunger each month.

“Consistent donations are wonderful, and we have some people who do that and we are very grateful,” Garretson said. “We are so grateful. And the people of the community are

grateful. You don’t understand we live in a bubble. People do not know what’s it’s like out there.”

In order for the pantry’s bags to be filled and placed on carts to go into the cars of families, the Sumrall Food Pantry and others across the Pine Belt depend on the community to make sure they stay afloat and to make sure no family goes hungry, whether that’s through non-perishable donations or monetary donations.

The Sumrall Food Pantry has outgrown its former home at the Sumrall United Methodist Church and is now located inside NAPA Auto Parks off Highway 42 in Sumrall.

“Prices of food have gone up drastically.,” Sumrall resident Rustie Smith said. “So, even if you do get help or don’t get extra help, this fills in.

“Like I said, it’s great. This church is great, and our town is great. We all kind of pull together.”

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