GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - You might call it the mother of all food pantries in South Mississippi. Twelve Baskets Food Bank is tasked with supplying 91 food pantries in eight South Mississippi counties. According to officials, every holiday the need for donations rises.
The door at 12 baskets food bank is always open for food pantries to take what they need to feed those who can't afford groceries. But during the holidays food pantries ask for even more food.
"Towards the end of the year people have extra expenses. Utility bills go up higher during these times so people have less money to pay for food," said Director of 12 Baskets Food Bank Jennifer Keegan.
Keegan said their warehouse receives the bulk of its food from the USDA in Jackson and Bay Area Food Bank in Theodore, Alabama.
But from now until December 23 there's a way shoppers can also help. Winn Dixie is collecting monetary donations that will benefit several food banks including 12 Baskets.
"The monetary drive at the stores and throughout South Mississippi and the stuff that we receive will come back into the communities into Mississippi," said Keegan.
You can also help by just dropping off a food donation of your own.
"Any type of food that's nonperishable is the best thing to donate. The box goods. The canned goods. The canned vegetables, any of that. Any type of staples that they can provide," she said.
Last year Keegan said 12 Baskets distributed 2.5 million pounds of food to more than half a million people.
"Harrison County is our largest county for distribution. So we have quite a few agencies here and they do the most distribution through that area," she added.
If you are interested in dropping off a food donation to 12 Baskets Food bank it's located just north of the railroad tracks on Cowan road in Gulfport across from St. James Catholic Elementary school.