By Riley Manning
While the holidays may bring joy to most families, for those in need, it can be one of the most difficult times to put food on the table.
In fact, Mississippi suffers from the highest rate of food insecurity in the country, meaning it has the most people who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from.
WTVA and its sister station WLOV, in partnership with the Daily Journal and other media and organizations, are making efforts to curb the holiday food shortage with their fourth annual Food for Families canned food drive.
The food collected will go to serve and restock food pantries in 17 counties.
“The unique thing about this particular food drive is that food stays in the county it’s donated in,” said WTVA’s Emily Leonard. “So if you drop off your donation in Itawamba County, that’s where your food will be used.”
Leonard said WTVA is spreading the word about Food for Families through unique events throughout the area.
“For instance, the Itawamba County schools are having a ‘pack the bus’ competition [today],” she said.
For the competition, Itawamba schools will pack a school bus with donations, and whichever school donates the most will receive a can-shaped trophy. Last year, the event collected more than 14,000 pounds of food.
Tupelo will host a similar event at Fairpark on Dec. 13, at which Dossett Big 4 will provide trucks to be filled with food.
“Also, at the Tupelo Christmas Parade, Boy Scouts will be sifting through the crowd collecting food,” she said.
Earlier this week she said the BancorpSouth Arena offered two tickets in exchange for 10 cans of food for Thursday night’s opening of Disney on Ice’s Princesses and Heroes.
Donations may be dropped off at any Mississippi State Extension service, the Boy Scouts Yocona Area Council in Tupelo, The Mall at Barnes Crossing, the Tupelo Furniture Market or Automobile Museum, any Food Giant location, the Daily Journal and others. For a full list of drop off locations, visit www.wtva.com/content/special/foodforfamilies.aspx.