Walmart gifts Hancock County food pantry $40,000

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Hancock County Food Pantry's shelves will be stocked for the next few months thanks to a generous donation from the Walmart Foundation. The foundation's Mississippi State Giving Program awarded the pantry a $40,000 grant, which pantry leaders say will go a long way in filling empty stomachs.

"It's a situation you don't want to be in. You don't want to have to use resources all the time, but I'm glad they are there when you have to," said Stephanie Stewart.

Stewart said her pride almost stood in the way of putting food on the table to feed her family.

"We have very little milk, a case of water, and like a loaf of bread. That's all we have right now," explained Stewart.

The family just moved to Hancock County from Texas a few weeks ago, and her husband just found a job.

"It's going to be two weeks before he has a pay check, so we needed something in the meantime," according to Stewart.

The Hancock County Food Pantry helps more than 500 families a month who find themselves in similar situations. Donations, like the $40,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation's Mississippi State Giving Program, allow the pantry to execute its mission.

"We spend about $10,000 to $12,000 a month on food. This is going to help us for three to four months. We're averaging about 500 families a month, so a lot of people are going to get food here because of this one donation of $40,000," said Pantry Executive Director Ed Catone.

The food pantry is a non-profit organization and receives no government funding. It survives on donations from individuals, organizations and corporate neighbors like Walmart.

"Everybody's times are hard, and if something like this can especially feed a child, it's relevant to the community we serve," said Waveland Walmart Manager Ray Cox.

Pantry leaders say it's financial support from the community helping to keep families like the Stewarts from going hungry.

"I think it will tide us over until we can get some pay checks flowing in," said Stewart.

Last year, the Walmart Foundation awarded more than $12 million to local charity organizations.

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