Gulf Coast food pantries see uptick in need, and donations during pandemic

Gulf Coast food pantries see uptick in need, and donations during pandemic

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Food pantries have seen an increase in people visiting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Add in a brutal winter storm, and the numbers are even higher.

In South Mississippi, the volunteers and staff at soup kitchens like Feed My Sheep in Gulfport saw that need increase as well. At Feed My Sheep, volunteers put together more than 800 meals a day for the elderly, home bound, and those in need.

Normally, Feed My Sheep does around 111,000 meals a year, but that total went up to more than 171,000.

Even though the numbers have increased, South Mississippians have dished out platefuls of support.

“That has been the most beautiful thing through this whole pandemic,” said David Lion, Feed My Sheep Executive Director. “Really, one good thing to come out of it if there is such a thing is the people, the local community has really stepped up as far as there monetary donations, their volunteering. The community has been terrific as far as the food donations, the monetary donations, and giving of their time.”

WLOX and Gray-TV are partnering with the Grand Ole Opry for a special broadcast to raise money to help feed people who have been affected by extreme weather across several states this month. It will feature several performances from country artists like Chris Janson, Travis Tritt and Hailey Whitters.

You can watch that show Saturday night at 8 p.m. on WLOX-CBS. All proceeds raised will go to Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks and more than 60,000 food pantries across the U.S.

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