HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The demand is way up this year at the Hancock County Food Pantry. But leaders say donations are up as well, that means needy families won't go hungry during the holidays this year. People forced to turn to the pantry for help say it is a true holiday blessing.
On the eve of Thanksgiving everything needed for a Thanksgiving Day feast flies off the shelves at the Hancock County Food Pantry.
Green beans, mac and cheese and of course no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a turkey.
"I'm not sure what's all in the bags, but I'm grateful for what is," said Hancock County Resident Donald Marroy.
Marroy lives on a fixed income, he says without the help of the food pantry he would not have had a Thanksgiving meal.
"Cause I get just a little disability and I have so many heart medicine and insulin I have to get, with the rent and my medicine I don't have enough to get groceries," Marroy said.
Marroy is not the only needing help. Pantry leaders say the need for food is way up this year and even greater during the holidays.
"I would say for the past seven, eight or nine years days we've probably processed twice as many families as we do on a normal day," explained Ed Catone, Director of the Hancock County Food Pantry.
On a normal day, the pantry serves about 25 families, that number has recently jumped to 50.
Catone said, "A lot of folks just don't have any work and we expected and we're seeing it with the reduction in food stamps that the federal government started a few weeks ago. We're getting more and more people coming in saying they need help because they lost some of what they were receiving for food stamps. "
Donations like a $1,000 check from Aerojet Rocketdyne at Stennis Space Center allows the pantry to do its work.
Company Spokesman James Wahl said, "The company knows it's a tough time for everybody and we want to help the community the best way we can."
Folks like Donald Marroy couldn't be more appreciative.
"They help me out a lot, God Bless them you know and for the people that donates to them it helps a lot of disabled people," said Marroy.
Those who run the pantry say need has increased dramatically since Hurricane Katrina.