Mid-South Food Bank surpasses 5M pounds in May with help from Farmers to Families program

WATCH: Mid-South Food Bank surpasses 5M pounds in May with help from Farmers to Families program

MID-SOUTH — Mid-South Foodbank has distributed 5.4 million pounds of food.

The food has gone to more than 300 partner food pantries, soup kitchens, shelter and other programs the Foodbank works with, but the majority of the food was distributed through the Mobile Pantry programs.

The Mobile Pantry has provided a huge source of food for families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 changed Janet Walker’s life.

She never had to depend on the Mid-South Food Bank until March, when she was laid off as a daycare worker.

“It means a lot to me because I was at the end of the month,” Walker said. “I had ran out of food and right now I’m unemployed.”

They tapped into other resources like Farmers to Families Boxes.

The increased distribution was helped by the Farmers to Families Program from USDA.

Mid-South Foodbank has received 25-pound boxes of mixed produce from local producers which included M. Palazola Produce for Tennessee, and Mississippi Fruit & Vegetable and West Group Holdings to serve their 18 north Mississippi counties.

Also, Farmers to Families included 28-pound dairy boxes with milk and other dairy products supplied by Prairie Farms Dairy Company to serve its 12 Tennessee counties, 18 Mississippi counties and Crittenden County, Arkansas.

That help could run out soon.

In Mid-March, the Food Bank distributed 2.4 million pounds to families. 4.7 million in April.

The numbers went up in May.

Pope said the need was even greater before COVID-19, which concerns the people who don’t know where else to turn.

“It’s been hard, it’s been really hard but take one day at a time,” Walker said.

Pope said before the virus, the Foodbank predicted a 45 percent increase in needs.

A release from Tuesday stated:

“Farmers to Families is a great program for us right now, providing fresh produce and fresh dairy products from local producers to give a much-needed boost to our food distribution at no cost to us,” said Food Bank President & CEO Cathy Pope.

“Because large commercial food donations had nearly disappeared, we were purchasing significant amounts of food, which is a huge shift from a food banking perspective. We are excited about Farmers to Families and love the high-quality products in each box.”

Pope said the program offers two benefits which include:

  • Families receiving needed food
  • Help for agriculture producers who have been hit hard by the closures of schools and restaurants.

“It’s a program that makes sense and is really helping so many people. It comes at a great time for us and the people we serve,” she added.