Why We Serve
Many of us think of poverty as a "city problem." We see movies with people in rags living in boxes in alleys, huddled against the cold. We think of beggars and panhandlers. We think of people far away.
The truth is far crueler. Poverty is with us in Northeast Mississippi. And with the recession, the poverty rate is on the rise. People below the poverty line often do not know that they can get help. These are people who have no food in the house by the end of the month, not even a can of beans.
F.A.I.T.H.Food Pantry is working to change all this.
- Served over 8,862 families, totaling 16,704 people.
- Averaged serving monthly over 739 families and 1,392 people.
The number of people served grows every year. As the numbers grow, more volunteers and donations are needed.
Who We Serve
Any household below the USDA poverty level (which average income is less than $1,307 monthly for a single-person residence).
Many families use the food pantry to supplement their food budget. While the food pantry pays around $7.92 per family, a client would spend over $300 at a grocery store for the same amount of food.
In early 1999 a small group from local churches conducted a survey of our public school's free lunch program, local churches, Lee and Monroe County Human Services Agencies, and surrounding food pantries. Our local public school system alone was providing free lunches to 60% of their students.
A newsletter was sent to local churches explaining this mission, asking for donations, and committed volunteers. Interested churches, individuals, and civic organizations gave donations totaling $881. Stepping out on faith with this donation and about 55 volunteers, and a small rent free house to store the food F.A.I.T.H.Food Pantry was established.
On October 16, 1999, the doors of the Food Pantry opened and distributed food to 93 families with family members totaling 251. October 2017 we distributed food to 805 families with family members totaling 1,483.
The original building was around 800 square feet, with all paperwork done in the Nettleton United Methodist Church Christian Life Center. As the Pantry grew, the facilities kept shrinking, and a larger space was needed.
The vision of a larger facility become a reality on January 25, 2006, after receiving a $125,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The City of Nettleton donated 2.08 acres of land to the Food Pantry, and a new warehouse ten times larger than the old facility was constructed.
A Marchbanks Helping Hand Grant through Create Foundation enabled the completion of the office area and the new Pantry opened in April.
Our Growth Continues
Grants and donations from various sources enabled the following purchases:
- air conditioning and heating for our facilities
- a forklift truck and an enclosed trailer
- walk-in coolers and a freezer for our perishable items
- more food for our clients
A software program, authored by Board member Angie Wright, was installed and placed in operation on September 19, 2009. Funding agencies require records be kept on all clients and all distribution data. This computer program has made it much easier on both volunteers and clients. This reduces the waiting period for clients and makes monthly and yearly reporting more accurate.
The Pantry is striving to be an agent of God's love and extend help in a way He extends His love and help to all people. Anything that comes from God is perfect and adequate above anything else.