About 500 families were helped in their food needs when Sacred Heart Southern Missions set up a mobile food distribution at Southaven’s Christ the King Catholic Church last week.
It was one of two additional food pantry activities the Walls-based Catholic social services mission program has held in recent weeks to address the need of DeSoto County residents who are hungry. A similar pantry was held the week prior in Hernando at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. About 40 volunteers joined staff members to pass out boxes of food who drove up and registered.
Laura Grisham with Sacred Heart Southern Missions said the two added “pop-up” pantries supplemented the additional demand for food normally addressed in two monthly activities, one in DeSoto County and another in Marshall County. The two monthly pantries have been sponsored by Sacred Heart Southern Missions for at least five years.
“This is really to make sure the community at large has got enough food,” Grisham said. “We’re seeing success, so you are going to see more of these in the future.”
Food supplies for the pantries have come in partnership with the Mid-South Food Bank and last week’s appearance in Southaven had a maximum number of families it could accommodate 500 families.
Families received a variety of items including fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, chicken, and pantry staples. It was boxed up prior to distribution for efficiency.
Grisham said the line for the food was long, long before the pantry opened in the parking lot at 2 p.m., noting that cars were lined up in the parking lot early in that morning. Supplies ran out before the 6 p.m. close, but Grisham said she was not surprised by the turnout.
“With so much of the community in need, we’re not surprised,” Grisham said. “That’s the reason why we’re doing it. I am happy that as many people came out as they did.”
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grisham said the numbers served at the pantries have continued to rise. Last month’s DeSoto County event was the largest, as numbers more than doubled. She expects to continue seeing a growing demand among the people they serve.
“Our six social service offices continue to see many for food,” Grisham said. “With this increased demand, we felt it necessary to add more opportunities for families to receive food, thus the two ‘pop-up mobile pantries, such as what we did in Southaven. We hope to host more in the upcoming weeks.”