Local food pantry in need of volunteers

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 10, 2019

A food pantry in Poplarville needs volunteers to help distribute the thousands of pounds of food provided to the community annually.

Brother’s Keeper Ministries is a donation based organization that provides food to those in need.

In order to receive food from Brother’s Keeper Ministries, residents need to prove they live within Pearl River County and are currently receiving SNAP benefits, said Executive Board President Ed Sternod. Proof of residency can be provided through a bill or house payment in the form of rent or a mortgage. To prevent a resident from receiving food donations from more than one pantry, Brother’s Keeper Ministries keeps in contact with the other pantries in the area.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The pantry has been in operation within the county since 2000, and has provided assistance to 41,835 homes, feeding 103,552 people, in that time.

Each month, the organization provides food to 354 homes, feeding 757 people, said secretary/treasurer Susan Fuller. Those in need of food can receive a basket full of food once per month after they have gone through the residency verification process. Each basket contains a variety of food, typically based on the donations received and food that can be purchased for a good price from the Bay Area Food Bank in Theodore, Ala. and Twelve Baskets Food Bank in Gulfport. Food provided in those baskets can include dry goods, canned goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, meat, water, soda and other items. Items that would be of interest to children are typically set aside for use in the local Back Pack Buddies program organized by a local Methodist church.

“A lot comes in, and a lot goes out,” Sternod said.

But to get those food baskets together, and to keep the facility running, more volunteers are needed, Sternod said.

Donations are provided by area churches, individuals and the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, Sternod said.

Funding for the pantry is also raised through a fish fry, which is held twice annually. The next fish fry will be on Sept. 27, at the pantry from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Each plate costs $10 and includes fish, baked beans and coleslaw, all of which is prepared fresh on site, Sternod said.

The pantry is located at 208 N. Main St., in Poplarville and can be reached by calling 601-795-3173. It is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a break for lunch from noon to 1 p.m. It is also open on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.