Miss. food banks see increased demand during pandemic, tornado aftermath

Miss. food banks see increased demand during pandemic and tornado aftermaths

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Food banks are seeing firsthand the tough times Mississippians are facing.

More and more people are turning to them, many for the first time in their lives.

Tyrone Newman operates The Newman Foundation food pantries in Jackson and Terry. Tuesday, he was at the Mississippi Food Network picking up items to feed needy families.

"They're servicing your neighbors," said Newman. "They're servicing your relatives".

The non-profit normally serves 500 families a month but has seen a 25% increase since the pandemic. The food will be given to those families Monday in Terry.

"We actually allow you to come in and to go around with your grocery cart and shop just like you do in the grocery store and get the items you want," added Newman.

Marilyn Blackledge is the Director of External Affairs for the Mississippi Food Network. She said the agency distributed over 900,000 more pounds of food in April than in April of 2019.

“That’s a huge increase. Almost a million more pounds of food,” said Blackledge. “So, that’s probably 800,000 meals more that we provided last month than we did the previous year. That tells you there how many people we’re seeing."

Another strain on the food provider and pantries is the increased need because of the April tornadoes.

“We’ve got mobile pantries scheduled out through this month through May,” added Blackledge. “We’re already planning for June because we know this is not the end when people go back to work and stuff. We know that people are still gonna have a hard time making ends meet.”

For more information on The Newman Foundation go to www.thenewmanfoundation.org and for the Mississippi Food Network go to www.msfoodnet.org .

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.