DIGITAL DESK: More Mississippians using food pantries, legislature may help with money
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Since last summer the number of Mississippians using food from food pantries has increased by over 200 percent. Now the state legislature may be able to help by diverting some tax money that would normally go to Miss. Dept. of Revenue, to instead go to funding the food banks that supply the food pantries in cities all over the state.
“Extra Table, Mid-South Food Bank, Mississippi Food Network, and Feeding the Gulf Coast are actually food banks. So, we provide food to food pantries all over the state,” said Marth Allen, executive director of Extra Table, in Hattiesburg, who was helping prepare food for distribution at a pantry in Long Beach, Monday morning. “Together the four food banks in the state touch all 82 counties and supply food to 455 food pantries.”
Allen blames the increased need partly on inflation and said the Mississippi House passed a bill called the Mississippi Food Bank Incentive Act (HB1723). That bill passed the House unanimously and must now be heard and passed out of the Senate Finance Committee to stay alive.
“The next 48 hours are critical for use,” said Allen Monday morning, encouraging people to call their Senators.
Allen said food banks have purchasing power to get nutritional food to Mississippians so that they can get nutritious meals for free, to them, and enjoy family time having those meals, which she says improves quality family time and the outcome of education.
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