Open Arms Inc. reaches a year in emergency food distribution
PHILADELPHIA, Miss. - As packed boxes come in, food bags go out. Volunteers are preparing for the annual food distribution at Open Arms, Inc. in Philadelphia. Co Chairman John Bowen says today makes a full year since the organization switched to emergency food distribution for the pandemic.
“Right here on Railroad Avenue, people line up--approximately a half hour to an hour before we actually give away food and it’s just constant," said Bowen. "Once we start handing out bags, it’s constant until all the food is gone.”
An average of 375 bags are packed and given during the distribution-filled with fruit, vegetables and pastries. The organization aims to satisfy every stomach in the Neshoba County area.
“The percentage of the population that would qualify as hungry, is about 5% and that hasn’t wavered as all. We have about 30,000 people and about 5,000 people in the county go to bed hungry every night and that’s been consistent.”
With the help of several agencies in Neshoba County, the organization is able to keep a flow of supplies throughout distributions.
“The donations that really got us started were for the local folks here. It’s just strictly drive through traffic. We give one bag per car and we just want to make sure the items we have can be stretched.”
Open Arms, Inc. hands out food bags every second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For information call, (601) 663-8505.