By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
NETTLETON – Nettleton’s food pantry fed more people in the first two months of 2012 than the number of residents in the city.
An average of 700 families each month from Lee and Monroe counties rely on F.A.I.T.H. (Food Available In This House) Food Pantry.
Melissa Rhudy’s family was one that needed help when she had to leave her job.
“I contacted Marolyn Hester when I had to quit my job two years ago due to health,” Rhudy said. “We needed an emergency food box because we didn’t have much to eat so Marolyn met us down there and we got two boxes of food. It was a huge blessing.”
The pantry offers emergency food boxes as well as food box pickup on the third Saturday of each month to qualifying families. Also, each Thursday, perishable items donated by local grocery stores are given out to qualifying families.
A family that lives in the Nettleton, Plantersville, Verona or Shannon school district and is classified at or below the poverty level by the Mississippi Department of Human Services qualifies to receive those boxes of food.
Both Walmarts in Tupelo, the Sam’s Club and Kroger donate food regularly.
“We pick up three days each week and it varies what we get,” said Jim Long, who is on the F.A.I.T.H. Food Pantry board of directors. “We give a little milk, sometimes we have enough eggs to give everyone a dozen, sometimes just a few.”
The pantry is run completely by volunteers and donations from private contributors and the United Way.
“We participate in the Feed America Program through the Mid-South Food Bank,” Long said. “They line it up so we can go pick up this food.”
The pantry is always looking for helpers and each Thursday 20 volunteers are needed to pass out food and 60 on the third Saturday of each month. Groups and individuals can volunteer. Visit www.nettfaithfood pantry.com for information.
THE PANTRY BEGAN in 1999 when a group of volunteers from churches in Lee and Monroe counties did a survey of public schools’ free lunch programs.
THE PANTRY PROVIDED foodfor 758 families in January, 670 in February and 692 in March, accounting for 4,108 people total.
MORE THAN 174,000 POUNDS of food have been donated through March this year and the pantry has only had to spend about $4,000 to purchase
FROM OCTOBER OF 1999 until December of last year, the pantry served more than 69,000 families.