/Mississippians prepare for impact of coronavirus on food supply

Mississippians prepare for impact of coronavirus on food supply

Over 100 teachers, cafeteria workers and bus drivers gathered to pack 5,000 lunches for Vicksburg children. This was just hours before Mayor George Flaggs declared an emergency to combat the outbreak. Josie Williams, a sixth-grade grandchild, drove up to Bovina with her sixth grade grandson to pick up lunch. Williams explained that Williams had to purchase extra food for her grandson because he normally eats breakfast and lunch at school. “If parents aren’t working, there’s no extra money for it. It’s like a snowball effect. It’s a great program. According to Feeding America, Mississippi has more than one fifth of its children living in poverty. Vicksburg Warren School district deployed more than 30 school buses to deliver meals to students’ bus stops. All children aged 18 and under can receive the meals. Carolyn Walker, an assistant teacher at Bovina Elementary School, said that she is concerned about the welfare of her students and ensures they are getting their meals. According to a spokesperson for the district, “We’re used five days a week seeing them so we’re just making certain they’re taken care of.” Lunches will be delivered every Monday through Friday, until school returns. Federal dollars will be reimbursed to the school district. Wednesday’s lunch included a hamburger and grape tomatoes as well as juice, juice, and cereal bars for breakfast. Kelvin Carter, a Vicksburg High School coach who volunteers Wednesday, said that it was calming to see people come together to help the kids. It’s important because I know that many high school students were missing meals last week. Many of these children look forward to having breakfast and lunch every day. Schools all over the state continue to provide meals for students, as well as non-students. Click here to see the complete list. The state’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed last week. Food pantries in Mississippi are now fully stocked. Marilyn Blackledge, director for external affairs at Mississippi Food Network, said that they are continuing to do business as usual. We are currently working on plans to distribute mobile pantry items, backpack meals kits, and other such things. It has just arrived in Mississippi, and we are still formulating our plans.” The Mississippi Food Network collects food from U.S. Department of Agriculture and donations from individual grocery stores. Blackledge stated that the warehouse can store enough food to last several weeks. The non-profit stocks food for more than 400 state pantries. Jill Buckley, executive director of Stewpot Jackson, said that they anticipate a rising demand. She said that they have all the supplies needed right now. She said that she believes the crisis will become more severe and the resources will be stretched further. People will lose their jobs, children will stay home longer and the demand for Stewpot will rise. Stewpot has made changes already, including giving food in to-go containers and asking older volunteers, those over 65 and those with underlying medical conditions, to refrain from allowing them to come. Buckley stated that she is most worried about the virus infecting one of the homeless shelters. There are a lot of people suffering from underlying conditions like COPD, asthma, and diabetes. She said that she doesn’t believe the virus will have an immediate impact. “It will be rolling,” she said. The Hattiesburg-based Non-Profit Extra Table uses donations to provide food to 40 food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the state. It also plans to stockpile extra product in response to the outbreak. Extra Table coordinated the delivery of food from the Biloxi Beau Rivage Resort & casino to Gulf Coast pantries. [Click here for Mississippi Today’s COVID-19 Resource Portal. ]