Mid-South Food Bank feeding families with mobile food pantries throughout pandemic

Mid-South Food Bank utilizes mobile food pantries

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The annual WMC Action News 5 Holiday Food Drive is in full swing. Funds are needed now more than ever. It is apparent at the food bank’s mobile pantries that are helping to feed families during a year where food insecurity has grown.

“So, coming to a mobile pantry, you’re going to need a little bit of patience. Most of our sites have very long lines,” said Lakeisha Edwards, Director of Agency Partnerships and Programs for the Mid-South Food Bank.

Edwards added that there is a lot that goes into hosting mobile food pantries.

“There’s a lot more than just passing out the food,” she explained. “We have to look at the location to make sure that the logistics of the actual event is going to be appropriate for a mobile pantry. We want to make sure that they have enough volunteers, that they have a plan for the trash, and also the eligibility forms, because we do track who we’re giving the food to.”

The mobile food pantry hosted at Deliverance Temple on Bellevue Monday morning was what the food bank calls one of their temporary sites.

“During the pandemic we allowed temporary sites to host mobile pantries. Traditionally we have partner agencies that we have contractual agreements with to actually do the distributions,” said Edwards.

Sites like the one at Deliverance Temple were made available to address the increased need caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. They’ve fed hundreds of people and sometimes even 1,000 in a single day with items like cereal, fresh fruit, vegetables and frozen meat.

While the mobile pantries have been free this year because of the pandemic, that will change soon.

“There is no unlimited funding of course,” said Edwards. “In 2021 we’re going to go back to kind of business as usual. The partner agencies will sign up for mobile pantries and unfortunately, they won’t be free anymore. But it will be at a reasonable cost. The maintenance fees for mobile pantries will be approximately at $1.50 per household. So, that gives each household anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds for a dollar and fifty cents.”

Proceeds collected throughout the month for WMC Action News 5′s Holiday Food Drive will help the Mid-South Food Bank serve families in 31 counties. DONATE HERE!

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