Local organizations work to end hunger in Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, Miss – September is National Hunger Action month. It’s dedicated to bringing awareness to the large amount of people who go without food.

Two local organizations are making it their mission, year round; to feed the hungry.

Robert Smith of Christian Food Mission said their food pantry, “Serves well over 200 meals a day through that method of delivering meals.” He said a lot of people depend on their service for food everyday.

Christian Food Mission has been serving Laurel and surrounding cities for over 30 years. Smith said he saw a need to service the elderly and homebound members of their community; so meals are distributed Monday through Friday to their homes.

Extra Table is a non-profit organization that uses 100 percent of donations to purchase healthy food, that food is then supplied to food pantries and soup kitchens in Mississippi.

Mike Dixon with Extra Table said last year, “we sent out fifty tons of food and this year we’ve already delivered more than 75 tons.”

“We’ve got over 640,000 Mississippians who suffer from what the government calls food insecurity. And a lot of those are children who eat a school breakfast and a school lunch and then they don’t eat again until the next day. A lot of them are senior citizens that live on fixed incomes and they need help,” Robert St. John, Restaurateur, chef, and CEO of Extra Table.

Christian Food Mission and Extra Table are both on a mission to end hunger in Mississippi. They say it’s the people you least expect, who go without.

“These needs are all around us you don’t really see them. They’re not out on the street, they’re in their homes. So when we began doing this I was really surprised, personally to discover how big of a need there was,” said Smith.

Dixon with Extra Table said it’s his calling to help those most in need, “Anything that raises that awareness is important but again it’s something that’s happening all the time, it’s an everyday thing.”

Extra table has tied the upcoming USM vs. MSU game into feeding the hungry. Fans donate to either team, whoever you think will win.

All proceeds go to a food pantry in Starkville or an agency in Hattiesburg, “Certainly we have lots of problems in our communities and in our state but if you’re going to work big to small, just putting food in someone’s stomach to me is one of the first steps we should be taking.”

Smith at Christian Food Mission says as long as the population continues to grow and people live longer this will be an everlasting problem.

“If we can’t take care of one another and just provide food in america then we have a lot to think about” said Dixon.

Click the links to learn about Christian Food Mission and Extra Table.

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