Feeding the Gulf Coast makes its way to Pearl River County

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation awarded a $15,000 grant to Feeding the Gulf Coast to expand their reach in Pearl River County.
The grant will provide eight mobile pantry distributions of over 5,000 pounds of food and 10 senior nutrition cooking demonstrations for those 60 and older, Cindy Bloom, media and events coordinator for Feeding the Gulf Coast, said.
The events will take place intermittently until August 2017, Bloom said.
Some sites already scheduled to host these events include Raine Street Community Center and Trinity Outreach Ministries, according to a release from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and Feeding the Gulf Coast.
“Anyone who has felt hunger pangs knows at a primal level the importance of having food to eat,” Clyde Dease, president of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, said in the release. “This project is expected to have a major impact on many families within our community.”
The grant has already funded two mobile pantry distributions at Trinity Outreach Ministries and the Raine Street Community Center this month.
“In Pearl River County, 18 percent of individuals and 31 percent of children are struggling with hunger,” Connie Whitaker, external relations director at Feeding the Gulf Coast, said. “The funds will be used to collect and distribute over 33,000 meals to 1,000 families, help 200 families apply for federal food assistance and provide cooking demonstrations and recipes for low-cost meals.”
Bloom said the grant will help the organization with the cost of transporting the food from their facility in Theodore, Ala. to Pearl River County, their most outlying coverage area.
“Partnerships like this one, show how the community can come together to address the issue of the lack of healthy, affordable food options to our neighbors,” Cathy Pope, Feeding the Gulf Coast president and CEO, said in a release. “We are very thankful to the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation for working with us to help fight local hunger in Pearl River County. With these programs, we can increase access to healthy foods in low income communities.”
The mobile pantries distribute fresh produce, meats, canned goods and other items, as well as recipe cards for healthy recopies that coordinate with the foods distributed.
Each food demonstration at local senior centers aim to teach those over 60 years old how to cook low-cost, healthy recipes in addition to helping seniors register for SNAP assistance.
“The community impact [in Pearl River County] will include over $700,000 in federal funds for grocery purchases, with an economic impact of over $1 million, and improved nutrition for low-income families,” Whitaker said.
More information about Feeding the Gulf Coast can be found at feedingthegulfcoast.org.

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About Julia Arenstam

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