UMMC opens first food pantry to the public

UMMC opens first food pantry to the public

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi continues the fight against hunger, with the University of Mississippi Medical Center opening their first food pantry this week.

The ‘UMMC Evers Care Emergency Food Pantry’ is located in the Jackson medical mall, and is open to anyone who is hungry, as well as patients who don’t have enough to eat.

The Mississippi Urban League and Mississippi Food Network partnered to open the Magnolia State’s first emergency pantry.

Dr. Bettina Beech is the dean of the Bower School of Health. She says it is her responsibility to help the community and her patients in any way she can.

“Food insecurity has been something that has always touched my heart," said Beech. “But when you have a young girl tell us, when we asked her what she had for dinner last night, that ‘it was not my turn to eat’, that was not acceptable. And I knew there was something we needed to do.”

Dr. Beech says opening the food pantry is their attempt to help end the fight against hunger here in the Jackson community.

“This is the 8th year in a row where Mississippi is first in the nation for food insecurity," said Beech. “In the world, over 812 million people are food insecure. And in Mississippi, over 600,000 people are not sure where their next meal is coming from.”

We spoke with Beneta Burt, CEO and president of Mississippi Urban League. She played an important role in getting the food pantry up and running.

“We want to be able to meet the needs of a family, or an individual who is food insecure and needs food," said Burt.

Burt says there will be a structured time twice a week for people to come to the food pantry and get food, based on the number of family members.

She added that none of this would be possible without the generosity and love Mississippi is known for.

“Mississippians are some of the most generous people in the world," she said. “I have never in my entire work life made a call out to Mississippi without tremendous people.”

Copyright 2019 WLBT. All rights reserved.