From the Archive: United Way grant helps mobile food pantry fight hunger in DeSoto County, MS

Grant to the Mid-South Food Bank helps initiative to addresses food insecurity issues in northwest Mississippi

When a parent has to look at his or her children and see the pain of hunger in their eyes, it can be too much to bear. Your support of United Way is making a difference in stories like this thanks to a grant for a new mobile food pantry in DeSoto County.

More than 20,000 people in DeSoto County are “food insecure,” two words that basically mean a person does not have means and/or access to secure enough food for an active, healthy life. That number reflects roughly 13% of DeSoto County’s entire population. According to the Mid-South Food Bank, when the focus is put exclusively on children in the county, the number rises to 28% impacted by food insecurity.

Leaders in DeSoto County celebrate United Way’s support of a mobile food pantry from the Mid-South Food Bank to help address food insecurity needs in northwest Mississippi (Photo: Paul Smothers)

Earlier this afternoon, United Way of the Mid-South presented a grant for $14,000 to the Mid-South Food Bank to help underwrite a mobile food pantry initiative in DeSoto County. The check presentation took place at the DeSoto Economic Development Office at 316 West Commerce St. in Hernando, MS.

The mobile food pantry will deliver fruits, vegetables, frozen foods and other nonperishable items in a refrigerated vehicle to people in DeSoto County.

“This is a prime example of United Way’s efforts in DeSoto County,” said Jim Flanagan, President of the DeSoto Economic Development Council and a member of the United Way Board of Directors.

“United Way funds 16 nonprofit agencies in DeSoto County in addition to their efforts on health and human service issues and challenges in DeSoto and other northwest Mississippi counties,” Flanagan added.

“United Way is very active in DeSoto County and is dedicated to helping feed people who are lacking proper healthy foods and resources,” said Fred Ashwill, Vice President of Public Policy for United Way of the Mid-South.

“United Way has a long history of partnering with the Mid-South Food Bank to help address the critical problem of hunger in our communities. Together we created the annual Operation Feed campaign years ago, and our staff gives a significant gift out of their own pockets every year to support the Mid-South Food Bank and help people dealing with hunger,” said Bryce Haugsdahl, President of United Way of the Mid-South.

The Mid-South Food Bank will distribute food through the mobile pantry each month at the Lander’s Center (formerly the DeSoto Civic Center) at 4560 Venture Drive, in Southaven, MS.

United Way and the Mid-South Food Bank will continue to monitor hunger statistics and reports in DeSoto and other northwest Mississippi counties to determine future needs and support for the area.

(Note: Paul Smothers contributed to this story)

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