Since 2002, Storehouse feeds area’s hungry

Published 8:33 pm Saturday, November 26, 2016

During the holiday season,  many thoughts go to those in need and how to best serve them.

One local resource that works to feed the hungry is the Storehouse Community Food Pantry.

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The pantry, which opened in 2002, gave out enough food to make more than 50,000 meals last fiscal year, feeding 4,260 people, said Charles C. Calhoun Jr., president of the food pantry.

For each visit to the pantry, a person receives three days worth of food.

“We just did an analysis, and it turns out what we give away is more like four to five days. So we’re talking about, that represents 50,000 to 60,000 meals come out of here every year,” Calhoun said. “We just can’t say enough about the people of Vicksburg and Warren County.”

The pantry is completely supported by donations, and Calhoun is proud of the amount of donations locals have given. Volunteer Lucy Young said all the public elementary schools and the Vicksburg Catholic Schools made major donations in the weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

“As close as we could count, there were 9,503 food items that were collected,” Young said of the Vicksburg Warren School District Fall Elementary Food Drive.

St. Aloysius worked with the Knights of Columbus on their donation, and she said some of those students even came into the pantry to help put the products on the shelf.

Calhoun said the pantry gets the bulk of their donations from schools, casinos, banks and companies.

“It’s amazing. We literally have hundreds of donations. It’s coming from churches, government employee groups. We get a big one every year that the postmen do,” he said.

Even with all the donations, the pantry had to spend about $1 for each donated meal last year.

Donations are needed heavily during the holiday season because that is when the pantry has the most people looking for help. Then once the holidays are over the pantry is usually close to empty and again needs to restock the shelves.

Chicken, pork and beans, green beans, peanut butter and jelly are just some of the items given out to people.

Calhoun said the U.S. Department of Agriculture monitors food insecurity, or people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In 2014, Mississippi ranked number one in the nation with 22 percent of the population falling into the food insecure category, he said, and Warren County’s population is at 23 percent food insecure.

“It really is a sad state of affairs,” Calhoun said.

Food is provided to people who are going through emergencies and are in need of extra help like having to pay a bill over buying groceries or having a death in the family. Services will be provided to an individual three times in a single year with at least one month between visits. Those in need of the services have to bring picture identification and social security cards for all members of the household.

The pantry got its name from Malachi 3:10, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.” 

The pantry at 907 South St. is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon and Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. For more information, call 601-636-3411.