Food Pantry

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Pantry doubles efforts to help needy

By Rita Howell

With unemployment in Panola County lingering at 14 percent, clients at the Panola Food Pantry are increasing at such a pace that the local food bank is expanding its hours of operation.

The pantry will begin serving senior citizens only on Tuesdays, and families on Wednesdays, according to Marie Leland, director of the facility.

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In the past six months, Leland estimates that the pantry has served more than 900 people.

For a dozen years, the pantry has opened for a once-a-week food distribution on Tuesday mornings from 9-11. The expanded service goes into effect next week. Senior citizens will be served from 9-11 on Tuesday mornings, and families can receive food on Wednesdays from 9-11.

Clients first go to Batesville Presbyterian Church where they receive vouchers for the pantry, which is located on the Batesville Public Square. To receive a voucher, a client must present a social security card and proof of income. For friends who are picking up food for someone else, the client must send a letter they’ve signed designating their representatives to bring their food.

Senior citizens are eligible for food from the pantry every three months, Leland explained. Families can apply every six months. The pantry works with families and individuals who have emergencies that might require more frequent help.

The pantry receives donations of food from a number of sources, and purchases food from the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis. The local food bank receives no financial support from city or county governments, Leland said, and relies on a network of local churches for monetary support and volunteers to run the operation.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has donated to this worthwhile cause,” Leland said. “Because of your kindness we are able to continue to assist our Panola County residents.”

Anyone who would like to donate food or funds or volunteer to help at the pantry may contact Leland at 563-7595 or 380-7230.