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Bounty of goodness: Volunteers box food for the needy

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Tuesday, volunteers at Poplarville’s Crossroads Food Pantry ensured that more than 70 families in Pearl River County had a meal to place on the table for Thanksgiving Day.
The food pantry serves clients in the Mississippi River, Ford’s Creek, White Sand and Henleyfield locations, director Sharon Bonnecarre said in a previous Item story. The pantry relies solely on donations and volunteers. Because Crossroads is not government funded, the only criteria is that beneficiaries reside in the service area, Bonnecarrere said.
More than 11 volunteers packed Thanksgiving boxes Tuesday afternoon to be distributed Wednesday during the pantry’s normal distribution hours.
Each of the 70 boxes contained enough food to create a complete Thanksgiving dinner.
Bonnecarrere orders the pantry’s supplies from the Bay Area Food Bank in Theodore, Ala.
“Bay Area Food donated nine cases of food and 45 whole chickens,” Bonnecarrere said. “For the remaining food baskets, we will supplement another frozen meat.”
Each box was filled with items from the four major food groups including stuffing, canned fruit and vegetables, dry goods, macaroni and cheese and bread.
Bonnecarrere said her food pantry wouldn’t function without the work of her volunteers.
“Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for my volunteers,” Bonnecarrere said. “They are awesome and it all just works together.”
Terry Duplessis has volunteered for the past three years and said it’s been a blessing.
“It’s a good feeling to know that you’re helping wonderful people,” Duplessis said. “I don’t know what our clients, especially the elderly, would be able to receive what they do from us every two weeks.”
Kerry Scalise has been volunteering for the past six months and said she enjoys helping people in need.
“Without our churches this would not be possible,” Scalise said. “We really are doing God’s work helping people and making a difference.”
Tuesday was Cindy Rainey’s first day to volunteer at Crossroads Food Pantry.
“I heard people at my church talk about how rewarding it was to volunteer here and I thought this was the perfect way to head into my retirement years,” Rainey said. “This is a great opportunity to help others who aren’t as blessed as I am. My fellow volunteers are just a great group to work with, there’s lots of laughter and joy here.”
Bonnecarrere’s husband Bruce said the food pantry’s clients are always happy to receive the food and will return to volunteer when they get back on their feet.
“Our volunteers and generous donors make it easy to do this,” Bruce said.
The food pantry is open the second Wednesday of each month and hands out groceries to those in need. Grocery items include meats, canned goods, bread and dry goods.
All donations are tax-deductible and anyone wishing to donate to the food pantry may contact Bonnecarrere at 601-799-3045.
Crossroads Food Pantry is located at 176 Old Crossroads West, Poplarville.